Suspects stuff pants full of cigarettes at Yemassee gas station

(Source: Yemassee Police Department)
(Source: Yemassee Police Department)
(Source: Yemassee Police Department)
(Source: Yemassee Police Department)

YEMASSEE, SC (WTOC) - The Yemassee Police Department is on the hunt for two men who walked into an EZ shop convenience store, dropped their pants and stuffed cigarette cartons inside.

This happened around 4 p.m. on Sunday. There are four suspects in total. The female distracted the store clerk, one guy pretended to be a shopper, and the other two guys used their pants as suitcases to steal cigarettes. But it was those sagging pants that gave them away.

Police tell me this was their game plan. In the surveillance video, one man is seen handing the woman the cash they needed to distract the clerk. That's when two of the thieves headed to the back of the store, dropped their pants and stuffed them with cigarette cartons.

"That's the first time I've ever seen somebody drop their pants to stuff a bunch of cartons of cigarettes. It's not like it's inconspicuous. I mean they are long and they are a rectangle and they don't flow with the human body," said Cpl. Brian Michael, with the Yemassee Police Department.

Even with pants stuffed full of stolen goods, you can see one of the suspects made an effort to speak to the cashier to play off his crime.

In all the commotion, the clerk looked out the window once they left. She realized pants do not look like that. That's when she picked up the phone and called 911.

"People get tunnel vision. She obviously didn't see what was going on until it was too late. Until they were waddling out of the store with their pants down around their ankles and boxes sticking out of them," Cpl. Michael said.

Yemassee Police say thefts like these aren't common.

The PEW Research Center released a recent study showing people think crime is higher than it actually is. That perception even increases over the past two years.

But the theft rate in the United States has only continued to decrease in the past two decades. Police credit that to the rise of social media. People know you can't get away with as much.

"It shows the public, cameras are everywhere, social media is everywhere, people know everyone, the information is getting out to the public more efficiently," Cpl. Michael said.

For these four crooks, their saggy pants and these cameras convince police it's only a matter of time before they are in custody.

The four escaped in a tan Kia Sol. If you have any information or recognize the suspects, call Yemassee Police at 843.589.6315 or SC CrimeStoppers at 1.888.CRIME.SC.

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