Police in Las Cruces, New Mexico, arrested a man suspected of breaking into a convenience store on Sunday morning and leaving $6 for the pack of cigarettes he took. Ellis C. Battista, 24, is charged with one count of breaking and entering, a fourth-degree felony. At around 3:30am, Battista and another man went to purchase a pack of cigarettes at Bradley’s convenience store.
The store normally operates 24 hours a day, but the clerk was not on duty and the store was locked.
Store surveillance cameras and witnesses confirmed that Battista pounded on the store’s front door several times in an apparent attempt to gain the attention of the store clerk, who was not there.
Battista then allegedly kicked the door’s lower panel, which broke.
Battista, believed to be intoxicated at the time, then entered the store. Video surveillance indicates Battista selected a pack of cigarettes and ensured that cameras captured images of him leaving $6 for the merchandise.
A witness called 911 to report the break-in, and police officers located Battista nearby.
Damage to the store’s front door was estimated at $800. No charges were filed against his friend, who remained outside of the store.
Detectives noted that Walgreen’s, which is open 24 hours a day and also sells cigarettes, is located immediately north of Bradley’s.
Battista was booked into the Doña Ana County Detention Center. He has since posted bond.