Authorities arrested an Augusta man early Friday they believe could be connected to several recent cigarette thefts from area drug stores.
Ricky Ricardo Cannida, 47, of Old Savannah Road, was charged with theft and giving false information.
A deputy said he saw a green Toyota Corolla drive into the parking lot of Walgreens on Washington Road at Bobby Jones at about 4 a.m. A man, later identified as Cannida, entered the store and was inside about three minutes before walking quickly back to the car. The car left and headed west on Washington Road.
The deputy followed the car and checked the license plate, which revealed the car’s registration was suspended. When the deputy pulled the car over, the driver said he gave Cannida a ride to the Walgreens.
Cannida reached under the passenger seat. The deputy ordered him to put his hands on the dashboard, but Cannida ignored the deputy and reached farther under the seat. The deputy ordered Cannida to the ground and handcuffed him.
Cannida said he didn’t have identification on him and provided a false name and date of birth to the deputy. The deputy saw 17 packs of Newport cigarettes under the seat and discovered Cannida had a warrant for his arrest.
The store’s video surveillance footage showed Cannida stealing cigarettes from behind the counter.
Authorities believed Cannida is connected to a recent string of Newport cigarettes thefts from area stores. He’s being held in the Columbia County Detention Center on a $3,200 bond and a warrant for shoplifting in Richmond County, according to jail records.