One Such Incident
Occurred Sept. 8
At County Drug On
BY KEN LITTLE
Police investigators from a number of Southern states met Tuesday in Nashville to compare information about a rash of recent pharmacy burglaries by fast-moving thieves who quickly clear out of the area.
Greeneville police Detective Lt. David Crum was among those at the meeting, held at the Regional Organized Crime Information Center in the state capital.
"We're putting together a task force to look for similarities," Crum said.
Greene County Drug, at 906 Tusculum Blvd., was hit early on Sunday, Sept. 8, by two men who stole more than 8,000 pills, including hydrocodone, Phenobarbital and other medications such as Diazepam and Levothyroxine.
Greeneville police responded at 6:32 a.m. the morning of the burglary after an inside alarm was activated.
The suspects made entry at 6:28 a.m. and exited the business by 6:29 a.m., the report said. They were on the road seconds after that, a security video shows.
The men fled in a light-colored or white Chrysler 300 sedan.
The same pair are probably responsible for a similar-style robbery on July 21 at the Fountain Plaza Pharmacy on West Andrew Johnson Highway in Morristown, authorities said.
That burglary, also involving two men wearing ski masks and driving a similar car, netted an even larger quantity of narcotic pills and other prescription medications.
Tuesday's meeting included law enforcement officers from Tennessee, Kentucky, Mississippi and Alabama, Crum said.
Pharmacies in all those states have been burglarized under similar circumstances.
"They're typically on Saturday or Sunday mornings and they're typically during a [law enforcement] shift change," Crum said.
Greeneville Police Chief Terry Cannon said after the Greene County Drug burglary that actions of the men who stole the drugs indicate they are career criminals.
"I would say they've done it before," Cannon said. "From what this looks like, these people are in the business."
IN AND OUT
A surveillance video from the Sept. 8 Greeneville burglary shows the four-door sedan pull into the lot from Tusculum Boulevard and stop in front of Greene County Drug with its lights on.
The video shows the passenger getting out of the back seat with a pair of bolt cutters, running up to the front door, and popping out the lock.
That man runs back to the car and grabs a plastic carry bin. The driver, also carrying a bin, runs into the pharmacy with the passenger.
They emerge 55 seconds later with the bins, get into the car and drive off in the direction of Snapps Ferry Road.
Both men were wearing gray ski masks and black gloves.
A police report said that, once inside the business, one man loaded up thousands of hydrocodone pills, while the other placed Phenobarbital and other drugs in the plastic bin.
A Morristown police report indicates the men who struck there were inside the business for three minutes, from 6:03 to 6:06 a.m., on Sunday, July 21.
Drugs stolen there include morphine, oxycodone, methadone, Demerol, Dilaudid and amphetamine salts.
Anyone with information about the Greeneville or Morristown robberies can contact the Greeneville Police Department at (423) 639-7111 or the Morristown Police Department at (423) 585-2710.