LAKEWOOD, Colo. (CBS4) – A homeless man is in custody after the burglary of a vape shop in Lakewood was caught on camera.
The owner of Inno-Vapor Digital on West Colfax Avenue near Wadsworth Boulevard watched the suspect on real-time surveillance and called the crime into police.
The store chain has been burglarized three times in three years. This is the first time a suspect was caught.
The shop’s front door is now boarded up where the burglar broke in just before 2 a.m. Wednesday.
“He walked in kind of like he was shopping, not really trying to steal anything,” explained Belle Brickley, who is in charge of store operations.
“This (burglar) was pretty calm. He just walked in. When he actually took the (vaporizer) tank out of the case, he opened (the case) up, and actually shut (the case) too.”
After swiping a vaporizer and some bottles of flavored oil, the thief ran off but did not get far.
A canine helped police catch the suspect minutes later, less than a block away.
Steve Davis, a spokesman with the Lakewood Police Department, said that the suspect had just gotten onto an RTD bus with evidence from his crime spree.
“In front of him on the floor of the bus he had a trash can,” Davis said. “And in the trashcan, there were a few bottles of liquor, some frozen steaks, and some items from the vapor store.”
As it turns out, the vape store had not been the thief’s only target.
Police say the suspect also hit a Mexican restaurant down the street, and that based on the frozen meat he stole, he must have been hungry.
Officers booked Ivan Alejandro Ocampo-Plascencia, 25, into the Jefferson County jail on two counts of second-degree burglary.
The cases may have gone unsolved were it not for today’s advances in technology.
“Say what you will about some of the headaches with the new technology,” Davis said. “But in this case, it sure helped us out.”
Several similar burglaries have plagued the area over the last 6 to 8 months.
Investigators will be looking into whether the recent break-in could be connected to others.