Police in several Connecticut towns said they're dealing with a sticky situation _ chewing gum thefts. According to authorities, the number of people caught stealing chewing gum has noticeably increased recently. They believe the chewy contraband is ending up on the black market, where it's harder to trace than some other stolen goods.
In one of the largest recent cases, a 21-year-old Stratford man was charged with shoplifting about $800 worth of Orbit chewing gum from stores in Stratford, Bridgeport and Fairfield.
In West Hartford, police have investigated four gum theft complaints since June, including one in which a 21-year-old Enfield man was charged with stealing $175 in gum from a local supermarket.
Police in West Hartford and elsewhere said gum thieves want something they can sell quickly, often to make money to support a drug addiction. That's what the man who allegedly swiped several hundred packs of Orbit in Stratford, Bridgeport and Fairfield told police.
"There's an entire black market all across Connecticut, where people sell stolen merchandise on the street and to businesses," Fairfield police Sgt. James Perez said. "People peddle stolen meat, fish, candy, gum, almost anything."
Information from: The Hartford Courant, http://www.courant.com