Pharmacy burglary linked to other break-ins
Police think a Dec. 11 burglary at Hillsboro Hometown Pharmacy could be related to August burglaries at pharmacies in Dodge City and Watonga, Oklahoma.
Hillsboro officer Randy Brazil, who investigated the pharmacy burglary here, said the Kansas Bureau of Investigation told him they thought the three burglaries were linked.
The Hillsboro burglary took place while Brazil was parked near the Tabor College campus during a basketball game. He said he thought the burglar drove around town to figure out where police were before breaking through the lower section of a glass door and crawling through the store.
In all three crimes, a burglar dressed in black broke through a window and entered the store below where motion sensors might detect them to steal narcotics and stimulants, then crawled back out with the drugs.
The Hillsboro burglary happened shortly before 7 p.m. and took eight minutes to accomplish. The pharmacy is on a well-traveled street across from the police department.
“That time of day, that was very brazen,” Brazil said. “The guy crawled to the front door and busted it out at the bottom. Then he crawled through the building to where the narcotics were stored. He was low to the ground.”
The burglar left the scene in a black Chevrolet Traverse and drove west on Orchard Dr., then north to US-56 before turning east on the highway.
Store security alarms did not trigger while the burglar crawled in, gathered narcotics and stimulants, and crawled back out.
The alarm system was not disabled, Brazil said.
“When we went in, we triggered it,” he said. “Evidently they didn’t have them set low enough to get the guy when he went in.”
The alarm also was supposed to trigger when the glass was broken.
It appeared the suspect used a window punch to break through the glass, Brazil said. Small pieces of glass were scattered along the path the burglar took while in the pharmacy.
“The suspect in my opinion has done this before,” Brazil said. “He knew what he was doing.”
The burglary was noticed more than an hour later when pharmacist Eric Drigger’s brother drove past and saw the broken door.
“The pharmacist showed up right after I did,” Brazil said.
A total of $8,645 worth of narcotics, stimulants, and cough syrup with codeine were stolen from the pharmacy. The drugs have a street value of more than $118,000.
In the Dodge City burglary, a man dressed all in black broke through a drive-through window of Gibson’s Pharmacy about midnight Aug. 24, crawled through the store, and stole $5,500 worth of narcotics and stimulants.
The suspect left the scene in a white Jeep Grand Cherokee, possibly with the help of a getaway driver.
In the Watonga, Oklahoma, burglary, someone broke through a glass front door of Swann’s Pharmacy just before 4:30 a.m. Aug. 24, crawled through the store, and stole $3,300 worth of prescription drugs.
Watonga is a more than three=hour drive from Dodge City.
The Watonga Republican reported that the burglar took opioids and stimulants. Security video from both stores showed the burglar dressed identically.
Security video captured both a burglar and a driver, and Watonga police said the getaway vehicle matched the one used in Dodge City.