Burglars strike Tobacco Outlet again

Justin Pappas

The Tobacco Outlet in West Jefferson experienced a bit of déja vu just before the Fourth of July weekend.

The store was broken into July 2 about 11:20 p.m., following a short car chase from West Jefferson police and an arrest.

A burglary took place at the same store April 15. The suspects were similarly pursued in a short car chase and arrested.

In this case, Justin Pappas, 34, of Grove City, was charged with breaking and entering, according to West Jefferson police.

Pappas was arraigned Thursday in Madison County Pleas Court on felony charges of breaking and entering, failure to comply and possession of criminal tools. He was held on a $25,000 cash surety bond.

Officers responded to the East Main Street business when a witness reported seeing a man throw a trash can through the glass door. The suspect then got in a dark-colored vehicle and exited the parking lot, heading eastbound on Main Street.

Once officers caught up to Pappas, the vehicle ignored audible police sirens, heading south on Plain City-Georgesville Road.

Pappas then turned onto Riebel Road and pulled into a driveway. He exited the vehicle and put his hands in the air, stating “It’s not that big a deal, boys.”

An open container of an alcoholic product was found in the front seat, according to the report.

Pappas is being held at Tri-County Regional Jail.

West Jefferson Police Chief Terry Ward said his officers were fortunately near the Tobacco Outlet when the break-in occurred.

“A lot of it is luck,” Ward said. “Being at the right place at the right time.”

Pappas’ informal pretrial hearing is currently set for Aug. 19.

Brandon Semler can be reached at 740-852-1616, ext. 1615 or via Twitter @BrandonSemler.