Police are searching for four masked offenders who drove a stolen car into a tobacco store at George Town, causing up to $40,000 damage.
Detectives and forensics officers were called to the scene about 3am Wednesday after reports of a ram raid.
A white Holden Rodeo ute is believed to have reversed into Freddie’s Tobacconist in Macquarie Street.
During the raid, cigarettes, lighters and pipes were stolen.
Owner Sandra Lloyd said she had not experienced anything like it before, despite running the business for more than 11 years with her husband Tony.
Woken up by a call from her security company, Mrs Lloyd said she had no idea what to expect.
"I didn't know what was happening until I got here (the store) … we arrived a little bit before the police," she said.
"When you are just trying to work and employ people and this happens... I was pretty devastated when I realised."
Despite the incident, the store was up and running by 9.30am.
"We’re operational and we’re just getting on with it,” Mrs Lloyd said.
Police said the white Holden Rodeo had been stolen from Launceston within the past week.
Detective Inspector Phillipa Burk said a white Nissan Pulsar had also been seen in the area when the raid occurred.
“We suspect they are [both] stolen vehicles,” she said.
“The Holden Rodeo has been confirmed as stolen and we’re following a line of inquiry that the Nissan Pulsar is as well.”
Police are also investigating a second incident at George Town during the early hours of Wednesday, which they believe could be linked to the incident in Macquarie Street.
Unknown offenders entered Temtrol Technologies in Victoria Street by ramming open the gates, police said.
Five cars were broken into and a “large amount” of tools and electrical equipment was stolen from two of the cars.
Detective Inspector Burk said police believed the incidents were isolated and not an “everyday occurrence” in George Town.
“In instances like this, I think the public can be reassured there is always a very swift response from police, the matter is investigated and taken very seriously,” she said.
“It is not a regularly committed type of crime.”
Members of the public who may be offered cheap cigarettes or have information relating to either crime have been asked to contact police immediately on 131 44. Crime Stoppers can be contacted anonymously on 1800 333 000.