Westside store burglar drops through ceiling in cigarette, lotto ticket heist

Police release surveillance video in December burglary of J&J Food Store

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Police are asking for the public's help identifying a Westside convenience store burglar caught on surveillance video, the Jacksonville Sheriff's Office announced Thursday. 

About 1:30 a.m. Dec. 26, police said, a man entered the J&J Food Store on South McDuff Avenue through the ceiling.

In the surveillance footage released Thursday, the man can be seen using a sledge hammer to break a glass door inside the business to get behind the counter.

The video shows him fumbling with the cash register, but he's unable to get it open, so he then tries to take a safe, which ends up being too heavy.

In a last resort, the burglar can be seen swiping cigarettes and lottery tickets before taking off. But during the hasty departure, he dropped one of the lotto tickets, which was a winning ticket of about $500, according to a store employee.

Dave, a clerk at J&J Food Store, said the security alarms were working that night, but the man was able to get away just minutes before police arrived.

However, thanks to the crystal-clear video, Dave said, they recognized the man in the footage because he used to be an employee at the convenience store.

"He worked here before," Dave said. "About a year ago."

He told News4Jax Thursday that's why they believe the store, which had only been burglarized once before last month, was targeted. 

Anyone with information is asked to call the Sheriff's Office at 904-630-0500 or email JSOCrimeTips@jaxsheriff.org. To remain anonymous, contact Crime Stoppers at 1-866-845-TIPS.