On the rough-and-tumble streets of Connecticut, chewing-gum robberies are on the rise, say police, who've seen a rash of gum thefts this year.

It all started in March when $800 worth of Orbit gum was stolen from stores in Bridgeport, Fairfield and Stratford by one man, Kenneth McManus, who intended to sell it for drug money. Cops say this high-profile robbery has led to several copycat gum thefts since June.

"What the motive is, we don't know," said New Britain State's Attorney Scott Murphy. "But gum thefts are increasing."

According to Sgt. James Perez from the Fairfield Police Department, gum does have a resale value for criminals looking to make a quick buck. "There's an entire black market all across Connecticut where people sell stolen merchandise on the street and to businesses," he said. "People peddle stolen meat, fish, candy, gum, almost anything."

And as everyone knows, chewing-gum theft is a gateway crime into stealing bigger-ticket items, like Little Debbie snack cakes.