When we think of large-scale, high-value theft, the usual things come to mind. People steal cars. People steal high-end electronics. Or people keep it simple and just steal straight up cash.
When we think of the “big scores” of our time, no one – not a single person – thinks about cigarettes.
There’s good reason for that! Cigarettes are not classy or fancy. They are expensive, but that’s largely because of the taxes imposed on them. And it doesn’t seem like there is a big enough market to move large quantities of stolen cigarettes once you’ve taken them. What good are all those cigarettes if you can’t sell them and make any money?
Well, none of those concerns stopped Andrew Oreckinto. According to the Associated Press, the 52-year-old New Jersey man was convicted this week of committing an insane heist right here in Connecticut. The report says that back in 2011, he cut camera and phone cables, used a glue-like substance to bust open locks, and stole more than 8,000 cartons of cigarettes.
As a non-smoker, I had to look up how many cigarettes come in a carton, but apparently it varies between 10 and 20 packs per carton. Doing that math, that’s between 80,000 and 160,000 packs of cigarettes in one score.
And what’s the punishment for stealing that many cigarettes? Apparently, Oreckinto could face up to 10 years in prison, and here’s why:
All those cigarettes he stole are valued at about $500,000.
No, these cigarettes aren’t special. They don’t have gold flakes in them or platinum on the filter. They’re just regular, buy-them-at-the-gas-station cigarettes.
I honestly don’t know what to be more shocked by, the fact that someone would go through all that effort to steal something like cigarettes or the fact that cigarettes are so valuable that going through all that effort actually kind of makes sense!
All this teaches me is that cigarettes are even worse than I thought. No only do they kill you, but they basically break your budget from the get go.