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Video: Teens ram Kia into Federal Way store to steal e-cigarettes


Video: Teens ram Kia into Federal Way store to steal e-cigarettes

One of the suspects is said to have been involved in other similar incidents.



Several juveniles broke into a store in Federal Way in stolen vehicles and stole e-cigarettes worth several thousand dollars.

On April 18 at approximately 4 a.m., police say, juveniles in a stolen Kia backed into the store at high speeds and shattered the storefront glass. The impact caused thousands of dollars in damage and the entire store counter was displaced.

Two months later, owner Eric Leland said the suspects had still not been caught.

Officials believe a juvenile was involved in several other break-ins at tobacco shops and then sold the stolen products on Instagram. Leland said he hopes insurance will cover the damage to the building, but really he is just frustrated and finds the whole incident unfortunate.

“I hope people don't feel the need to break into companies. I hope more of the wealth gets distributed and then they text Jeff Bezos. How about that?” Leland said. “I just want to get this out of my head. I just want it taken care of. I'm not getting the money back even if they prosecute the kid.”

The police report of the incident states that an officer responding to a burglar alarm and driving toward the store saw a dark colored sedan drive past him at a high rate of speed. When he arrived at the scene, he noticed that the liquor and tobacco store had been rammed by a vehicle.

According to the police report, the officer also noticed a white 2014 Kia ​​Optima with an Oregon license plate parked in front of the liquor and tobacco store. The officer said in the report that the Kia appeared to have significant damage to the rear. The officer said he then searched the store for suspects and noticed that the store was in disarray and appeared to be missing items.

The report states the officer contacted the store's key holder, who provided officers with footage of the incident. Officers said they observed an unregistered dark-colored Kia sedan and the white 2014 Kia ​​Optima backing up in front of the store at approximately 3:53 a.m. The white Kia then backed into the store and rammed through the front entrance. Two suspects then exited the dark-colored Kia and entered the store.

Officers said the driver of the dark Kia sedan was a woman and that after the white Kia sped through the store, two men got out of the dark Kia and one man got out of the white Kia.

Footage of the incident then shows the men entering the store with their faces covered and carrying shopping bags. They filled the bags with e-cigarettes and other tobacco products, but mostly disposable e-cigarettes. The report states that officers believe there is enough evidence to establish probable cause for second-degree burglary.

A student affairs officer at Federal Way High School said he recognized one of the men in the video. He identified him as a 16-year-old who he expected to attend Decatur High School, but who appeared to no longer attend school. The officer said the youth is suspected of being involved in several similar burglaries of tobacco shops in cities from Olympia to Monroe.

The officer who recognized the juvenile said he had been following his activity on Instagram since May 2023 and often saw photos of the juvenile next to firearms and Kias. The officer said the juvenile would also frequently post large quantities of new vapes in a row, making it appear as if he was offering them for sale.

Videos obtained through a public records request related to the April 18 break-in show posts from the juvenile's Instagram account. In one photo, the juvenile posted a video of about 60 disposable e-cigarettes with the caption, “Only for a limited time, come get me.” Another video from the juvenile's Instagram account showed over 70 disposable e-cigarettes with no caption.

When officers discovered the connection, they searched several areas associated with the juvenile to find the dark sedan, but neither the juvenile nor the vehicle could be found.

Screenshot from inside the Beverage and Smoke Shop after juveniles forced their way into the front of the business and then forced their way in. Photo from Federal Way Police Department public records

Screenshot from inside the Beverage and Smoke Shop after juveniles forced their way into the front of the business and then forced their way in. Photo from Federal Way Police Department public records

Interior view of the liquor and tobacco store. Photo from Federal Way Police Department public recordsInterior view of the liquor and tobacco store. Photo from Federal Way Police Department public records

Interior view of the liquor and tobacco store. Photo from Federal Way Police Department public records

A close-up of the liquor and smoke shop. Photo from Federal Way Police Department public recordsA close-up of the liquor and smoke shop. Photo from Federal Way Police Department public records

A close-up of the liquor and smoke shop. Photo from Federal Way Police Department public records