Lincoln, Neb. Vape Shop Crime a Growing Concern

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Update: The Lincoln Police Department is investigating a break-in at another vape shop on Tuesday. LPD said officers were dispatched to an alarm and responding officers found a glass door was shattered and the suspects got inside the business, according to news reports.

Lincoln, Nebraska has a problem with burglaries at vape shops. This weekend, employees at another Lincoln smoke shop arrived to work to find the front door shattered and thousands of dollars in vape products stolen.

On Saturday at 10:30 a.m., Lincoln police were called to SJ’s Smoke Shop near 31st and O Streets after employees reported the front glass door shattered, according to news reports.

Surveillance video shows two people using a rock to break the front door. LPD says they took multiple pipes and vape products worth roughly $5,000. The damage to the building is also estimated at $5,000.

During an editorial on the rise in vape shop crime by Vapor Voice, Lincoln, Nebraska stood out as having a high number of vape shop crimes. Research suggests that in 2021 more than 40 vape shops burglaries occurred in Lincoln.

A spokesperson for LPD said that vape shops often carry expensive products that are small and hard to trace. This makes vape shops, especially those carrying delta-8, CBD and other cannabis products, high value targets for criminals. The products are in high demand on the black market, LPD said.

Richard Marianos, a senior law enforcement consultant and adjunct lecturer at Georgetown University, says regulatory constraints often have the unintended consequence of boosting crime rates, adding that taxes and flavor bans bring prohibition, and prohibition brings crime.

“These regulatory actions mean a dramatic increase in street sales to kids, and that is what we have seen all over the United States,” said Marianos. “In terms of law enforcement, the issue is that there has been 150 percent increase in smash-and-grabs because of the difficulty of purchasing these products.”