MARTINSBURG — Three Newark men were arrested in connection with a string of cross-county burglaries, including a recent gas station burglary in Martinsburg on Market Street. Knox County Sheriff’s Office was part of a joint investigation with Newark Police and the Licking County Sheriff’s Office that led to the arrests.
As a result of this investigation, NPD arrested Dempsy Smith, 37, and Nathan Anacker, 23, on Dec. 4 for breaking and entering. On Dec. 10, LCSO further arrested Christopher Diamond, 28, for breaking and entering and engaging in a pattern of corrupt activity. All three suspects are currently held at the Licking County Jail.
According to a KCSO press release, the Sheriff’s Office responded to an alarm Dec. 2 at the Martinsburg Marathon. Officers arriving at the scene discovered the front door damaged and that cartons of cigarettes had been stolen.
KCSO’s investigation identified the license plate number of a vehicle used in the burglary which presumably connected the case to a series of burglaries in Newark and Licking County.
Smith, Anacker and Diamond were linked to four other burglaries in Licking County, according to KCSO press release. The Newark Advocate reported Dec. 6 that the four burglarized Newark businesses included a Market Basket, a Speedway, and two Marathons, in addition to the Martinsburg Marathon.
Only Diamond and Smith are charged in connection with the Martinsburg burglary. Knox County Sheriff David Shaffer was not available for further comment Wednesday.
At one of the burglaries, security footage showed a silver vehicle, believed to be an early 2000s Honda CRV, parked outside the store front while two suspects burglarized the store.
In the Market Basket burglary, two suspects were again caught on security camera stealing cartons of cigarettes after breaking into the store.
In recent years, the black market for stolen, smuggled and counterfeited cigarettes has thrived as lawmakers raise cigarette taxes in the hope of discouraging smoking. The Tax Foundation estimated that black market cigarettes accounted for 8.5 percent of Ohio’s cigarette consumption in 2017 — a 2.5 percent increase since 2016. The 2018 report has not been released.