Cigarettes worth about £25,000 were stolen from the back of a delivery lorry in Redhill.
Detectives, who are appealing for witnesses, believe the big haul of cigarettes was taken after a man secretly climbed into the rear of the lorry.
Officers believe the man was working with an accomplice, who was following the delivery vehicle in a car.
The theft happened last Saturday (May 17).
A Surrey Police spokeswoman said the lorry driver, who was working for the Co-operative, stopped his vehicle at the junction of Marketfield Road, Cromwell Road and the High Street, near to Frankie and Benny's restaurant, at about 10.30am, to ask for directions. The spokeswoman said: “At this point it is believed the occupant of a green Ford Mondeo climbed into the lorry. “The lorry driver returned and continued his journey to the Co-operative store at the corner of the High Street.”
But she said, while he was parking the lorry, the delivery driver spotted a man in the rear of the vehicle.
The man fled, she said, jumping into the passenger seat of the Mondeo, which is believed to have followed the lorry as it drove through the town centre.
The man was described as white, with dark hair, was around 5ft 10ins tall and plump.
He was wearing a high-visibility jacket at the time.
Investigating officer PC Paul Overton, said:"The driver had stopped at a store in Kent prior to Redhill, and it may be that the green car had followed him for some time.”
Appealing for witnesses, he said: “If you believe you saw a car matching this description in suspicious circumstances, which you believe may connect to this incident, please share this with us.
"I would ask anyone who saw anything suspicious in the area where we believe the offender entered the lorry, or where he got out of the lorry, to contact us with information.”
Anyone with information is urged to contact Surrey Police on 101, quoting reference 45140040053. Alternatively, people can call the independent charity Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.