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Mike Barca, owner of Pete's Grocery, said the thieves dropped as many cigarette cartons as they got away with. | ( Jill Connor / The Westerly Sun )
The incident at Pete's was caught on video. Mike Barca, owner of Pete's Grocery, had his store broken into on Saturday August 10. | ( Jill Connor / The Westerly Sun ) Mike Barca, owner of Pete's Grocery, had his store broken into on Saturday August 10. | ( Jill Connor / The Westerly Sun )

Thieves make off with $285 in cigarettes from Pete’s Grocery


ASHAWAY — Mike Barca, the owner of Pete’s Grocery, said that if he had moved more quickly he might have caught the intruders who carried out the recent smash and grab at his store. Luckily, the thieves were clumsy because they dropped as much as they actually got away with, he said.

They made off with cigarettes — Newport 100s and regulars.

Hopkinton police have released photos and video surveillance of a man and woman who broke the front door of the popular neighborhood store to gain entrance at 4:30 a.m. on Aug. 10. The man had an obvious handicap, as if he may have suffered a stroke, the police said. He and a woman can be seen leaving in a two-door silver Mercedes Benz.

Barca, who lives in a home behind the store, said he has a fairly sophisticated alarm system that includes an audible alarm as well as one that alerts a security company to a break-in or unusual motion.

Earlier in the week an employee went to work very early to get a head start on cooking and baking, and inadvertently set off the alarm, prompting notification from the security company, Barca said.

“My bad,” he said Thursday while recalling the early morning incident. He said he didn’t rush over when he was notified of the alarm problem, thinking that his employee had come in early again, although she was not scheduled that day.

He said that as he pulled into the driveway, “my stomach dropped” as he caught sight of the two large rocks that the thieves had used the break open the doors. Newspapers and bread had already been delivered that Saturday morning, but the delivery workers had also missed the perpetrators by a short time.

Barca believes the alarm may have sounded sooner had the glass in the doors had not been shatter-proof.

He said breaking glass would have triggered the system immediately.

He said the store had been robbed four or five years ago.

The cost of the cigarettes taken was about $285. He said they stole three cartons but they dropped as many as they left with.

Hopkinton police are asking anyone who recognizes those in the video or in photos or may have information to call them at 401-377-7750.

Meanwhile, Barca, the good natured proprietor, keeps a busy schedule at the grocery, which has been part of the community for more than 40 years.

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