A Glendale man accused of stealing cigarettes from a local CVS store in Pismo Beach as part of a suspected theft ring pleaded not guilty Thursday to a burglary charge.
Armond Abramian, 33, entered his plea before Judge Michael Duffy in San Luis Obispo Superior Court relating to the alleged crime that took place in the early morning of Aug. 18.
The Pismo Beach Police Department reported that a man ran out of the store on Oak Park Boulevard about 3:45 a.m. carrying a storage container half full of cigarettes.
The suspect ran to catch up to his accomplice’s car, but it left without him and he fled on foot, police said.
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The getaway driver, Darney Romero, 24, of San Fernando Valley, was arrested after trying to flee from the store. Romero is also being charged with burglary; she’s scheduled to be arraigned Thursday.
Abramian was caught after 4 p.m. on Aug. 18, police said, when he tried to drive to County Jail, apparently to post Romero’s bail, said Sgt. Steve Weir.
Weir said Abramian is believed to be part of an organized ring that focuses on stealing cigarettes and then reselling them. Some of the alleged resale has occurred in neighborhood stores in Los Angeles, Weir said.
Authorities had been on the lookout for possible thefts locally after receiving word of burglaries at CVS stores in Ventura and Buellton, thinking the perpetrators were driving north.
Abramian remains in custody in County Jail in lieu of $750,000 bail. Romero has posted $20,000 bail.