Owner fed up after Independence liquor store robbed twice in one day

INDEPENDENCE, Mo. -- One store owner in the metro said she's had enough.

Tessa Orr, owner of KC Liquors, said her store, which sits on U.S. Highway 40, was robbed twice on Monday. In two robberies, thieves made off with thousands worth of stolen cigarettes. On both occasions, Orr's surveillance cameras show a pack of thieves working together robbed her establishment.

Those cameras show a crew of three people distracting the store's only clerk around 1:30 p.m. on Monday, while another man entered the store's stock room, where he loaded his arms with cartons of smokes. Two hours later, a crew of four people came back for more, using cell phones to coordinate their theft in similar fashion.

"They try to get you into the cooler saying they need beer for a party," Orr said.

Surveillance video from KC Liquors shows the ring of thieves, working under the pretense they were customers making a large beer purchase, coaxed the clerk away from the store's front door. That clerk said the thieves told him they'd return in a few hours to pick up their order, but that, according to Orr, was merely a distraction while crooks made a second heist of cigarettes.

"I'm lucky to have the cameras I do, but it seems like it's never enough," Orr said.

At $55 per carton, those stolen cartons of cigarettes, most of which were high-dollar brands, add up to roughly $1,100.

"I own the store by myself. I support three kids with it, and to have that kind of loss in a day, it's hard to make up for it," Orr told FOX4.

This isn't Orr's first run-in with thieves. Last September, crooks used a truck as a battering ram, punching a hole in her store's front wall. That gave them access to the store, where they made off with her ATM machine. A spokesperson for the Independence Police Department told FOX 4 News they're aware of trouble Orr has endured at that store, which sits near Pittman Road.

"I think there's going to be theft everywhere. It's just a matter of being smart about it, and doing the best we can," Orr said.

Orr commented she's not sure how she`ll prevent future thefts. She said she talked to FOX4 to warn other business owners around Independence so they're not the next victims.

If you know who's the blame for the cigarette thefts, please call the Crime Stoppers Tips Hotline at (816) 474-TIPS.