Andrews couple wanted for $6,000 cigarette heist

ANDREWS, SC (WCSC) - The Food Pantry on West Main Street is where the residents of Andrews get their gas, chicken and groceries. However, the acts of one man turned it into the scene of the biggest shoplifting crime in Andrews history.

"I've worked in Andrews 26 years.  This is the biggest shoplifting I've had to work with," said Investigator Eddie Lee.

Lee said Tyrone Blackwell stole more than $6.000 worth of cigarettes and it was all caught on tape. "Newports, Cools just assorted cigarettes, t-shirts, peanuts, just assorted items," said Lee.

Police first investigated on Dec. 10, after the store manager noticed inventory missing. Video surveillance from November showed the same crime taking place, again and again.

Police said Blackwell's wife worked at the store.

Investigator Lee said Blackwell would hit the store in the morning, right after he brought his wife to work. He'd take the cigarettes, put them in a cooler and carry them to his car.  At such an early hour, there were no other customers in the store, but the surveillance cameras were on 24-7.

Police said the surveillance video showed him taking stuff and taking off. Since the amount is more than $500, it's grand larceny. "Cameras do not lie," said Lee.

Lee talked to Blackwell on the phone Dec. 12. He said Blackwell claimed he stole to feed his family, but Lee said that didn't make sense. "You can't feed your family [with cigarettes]. The only thing you can do with cigarettes is smoke them," said Lee.

According to police, Blackwell also promised to turn himself in, but instead he and his wife skipped town. Blackwell's wife was fired from the store after the surveillance footage came to light, police said.

If you know where to find the Blackwells, call Crime Stoppers at 554-1111.

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