Ellis C. Battista wanted to buy some cigarettes during the early hours of Feb. 28, but when he discovered a convenience store in Las Cruces, New Mexico, was closed, he allegedly smashed one of the door’s glass panels and grabbed a pack, but not before placing $6 on the counter.
Police told the Las Cruces Sun-News 24-year-old Battista was caught on surveillance cameras breaking the door, which was valued at $800.
He made sure to walk up to the camera and show that he was leaving $6 on the counter for the cigarettes he took, reports The Associated Press. Police believe Battista was intoxicated at the time.
Although Battista has since been charged with one count of breaking and entering, a fourth-degree felony, his friend who accompanied him to the convenience store but didn’t go inside has not been charged. Battista was released on bail after being booked into the Dona Ana County Detention Center.
Detectives noted there’s a 24-hour Walgreen’s the sells cigarettes near the convenience store. The convenience store is reportedly usually open 24 hours but the clerk had to close the store that night.
When the Las Cruces Sun-News posted about the incident on Facebook, Battista was ridiculed by commenters. “Honest idiot of the year award goes to…,” wrote Bruce Toombs.
Others defended Battista. “I grew up with Ellis, he's an amazing person and has the biggest heart of anyone I have ever met in my entire life, and I mean that whole heartedly,” wrote Mason Burchett. “With that being said he has been known to make silly decisions while drunk.”
Sarah Lee wrote: “That's my homie he needed his ciggs got love that he paid for (them),” along with the hashtag ‘Team Ellis.’