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Busted by Facebook post: Man quickly arrested after alleged theft of cigarettes from gas station

JANESVILLE — A 21-year-old Janesville man was quickly busted after police say he broke into one business and stole cigarettes, and then tried to break into a second.

According to Janesville police, early Tuesday, December 5th, officers responded to separate burglary reports on the city’s north side.

The first happened around 3:45 a.m. at the Woodman’s gas station on N. Lexington Drive near Humes Road. It was determined someone had forced their way into the gas station, and cigarettes were taken.

The suspect was gone by the time police arrived.

Just over two hours later, an alert Woodman’s employee noticed an individual had posted on the “Janesville Swapmeet” Facebook page — looking to sell cartons of cigarettes that matched those stolen in the burglary.

Forty-five minutes later, a report came in from the Walgreens store on Kettering Street near Milton Avenue indicating an individual was trying to break in — smashing windows with a pipe and propane tank. The business hadn’t yet opened for the day.

The suspect was gone by the time officers arrived.

Police showed up at the address of the individual found to be posting about the cigarettes on Facebook, and found him outside — wearing clothing matching the description worn by the suspect during the Walgreens incident. Surveillance video from the Woodman’s gas station confirmed this was the suspect in that incident. Cigarettes matching those taken were recovered from his home.

He was arrested on charges of burglary, theft, attempted burglary, criminal damage to property and possession of drug paraphernalia. Formal charges haven’t yet been filed.