$1K in items stolen from University City business after stolen Kia drives into it

The Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department is investigating after a car was driven through the front of a business early Thursday morning.

The incident occurred around 1:30 a.m. at the Tobacco and Vape Shop on University Pointe Boulevard. Several police vehicles, as well as officers, were at the scene.

The manager of the business told Channel 9 that thieves drove the car into the storefront and all the way inside the shop. A police report confirmed that information; it says the car that drove into the building, a Kia, was stolen from DriveTime, a used car dealership.

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The owner, Faris Abdullah, said he was frustrated because the same thing happened the night before.

“We were just in the process of getting it fixed, almost done getting it fixed back to new, and apparently they thought they could get away with it again, so they came back,” the manager explained.

He said the store is a family operation, and while they do have surveillance cameras, he hopes police can identify the suspects.

“They came back and did the same exact thing and put a car through the front of the store and stole some vapes,” he said.

“It’s ridiculous honestly, that they are causing this much damage just to steal a few hundred dollars worth of product. This time they took a lot more -- I’d say a few grand worth.”

The police report for the incident says the suspects stole more than $1,000 worth of tobacco products and caused more than $20,000 in damage. Abdullah said it may have been retaliation for a prior crackdown on local students.

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“We see kids from the school down the road, and they’ll come in, we usually kick them out, sometimes they get in, and if someone’s working by themselves, they’ll try to run around the corner and grab some stuff,” Abdullah said.

Action 9 has reported on the issue with Kia and Hyundai thefts. At one point last year, CMPD said those makes of cars made up more than half of all the stolen cars in Charlotte -- an increase of nearly 20 times the year before.

For Abdullah, it’s just another hassle.

“All that’s brand new -- the board, we were still waiting for the glass to come get put up for the rest of it. The wall in the back is brand new, it just got put up yesterday,” he said. “So we’re going to have to repeat all that again.”

Channel 9′s Evan Donovan spoke to DriveTime. A spokesperson said the car didn’t come from one of their dealerships, so the owner listed on the police report is likely just the previous owner of the car.

Abdullah said he’s been in touch with the property manager of the shopping center for better security. He thinks this incident will move those efforts along.

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