Local pharmacy burglaries may be organized, linked to crimes in Texas

ST. GEORGE – St. George Police detectives are working closely with detectives in Houston, Texas, in their ongoing investigation of three pharmacy burglaries that occurred in Southern Utah and Mesquite, Nev., in the early morning hours of June 1.

Walgreens pharmacies in Hurricane and Mesquite and Stapley Family Pharmacy in St. George were all burglarized, each within a couple hours of each other, on June 1. For the full pharmacy burglary story click here.

An undisclosed agency out of Houston contacted St. George Police in light of over 100 burglaries there which were very similar to the three here, St. George Police Sgt. Sam Despain said.

“Our understanding is that Texas authorities have made arrests,” Despain said, “we don’t know how many are involved or if there’s a ring of individuals or if in fact they are part of the same that were involved in the burglaries here.”

Detectives are trying to link the Texas burglaries with those that occurred here, he said.

“The story we hear is that they were caught in Texas,” Stapley Family Pharmacy owner Evan Stapley said, “and that they had hit 175 different stores as part of an organized crime syndicate.”

“It’s safe to say that what was taking place down there is very similar,” Despain said – and that the people involved were organized.

The organization used in the local pharmacy burglaries suggests they did know what they were doing as distinguished from someone addicted and desperate who is sloppy and tries to hop over a counter to try and steal some pills. For example, in nine minutes, the burglars were able, with a sledgehammer, to break a hole through 3 ½ inch-thick glass large enough for them to crawl through at the Walgreens Pharmacy in Hurricane. At Stapley’s, the burglars were in and out within eight minutes after prying the door open.

“Who knows why they are organized,” Despain said, “probably for financial gain.”

This is an ongoing active investigation.

Updated June 12, 2013, headline revised for clarification

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Pharmacy burglary spree, Hurricane, St. George, Mesquite; police ask public to be on the lookout

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