JACKSON COUNTY, Fla. (WJHG/WECP) - At least two men are believed to have ransacked pharmacies throughout the Panhandle and Alabama in recent months. So far, no arrests have been made.
These incidents likely began in late October. The men have hit stores in Santa Rosa and Jackson Counties with the most recent happening in Sneads.
Surveillance video from January 10th shows the Sneads Pharmacy break-in that cost pharmacist Brian Lewis about $10,000 in prescription drugs.
"When I got here that's when I noticed that the doors had been shattered," Lewis, who owns the pharmacy said. "The only thing that was taken initially that we noticed was a trash can to load the medicine and the narcotics was the main medicines that were taken."
That's just one of many pharmacies broken into, all with similar stories.
"They raked off two shelves of prescription drugs into, matter fact, my garbage cans," Paramore's Pharmacy Owner Scott Paramore said. "It was certainly a smash and grab. They were in and out, I would guess in two or three minutes."
"Back on November 1st, Marianna's pharmacy was broken into and about an hour before that one in Headland, Alabama," Sneads Police Chief Burt McAlpin said. "They had video that's similar to ours. This is reason that leads us to believe these are the same guys involved in this. We've been in contact with numerous law enforcement agencies. Apparently, there's been a rash of them on the I-10 corridor."
McAlpin says the agencies are actively investigating the incidents but no leads as of yet.
"We got two vehicle descriptions of vehicles of interest. We've shared with other law enforcement. We have reason to believe there's lookouts and other people," the Chief said.
Both Jackson County pharmacists say the burglaries are likely due to the shutdown of pill mills and the drug problem throughout the country.
"Hopefully, the police departments and law enforcement could get a
handle on the drugs that are being taken and abused by the public. There's plenty of side effects that could occur from taking it especially if they're not even prescribed it," Lewis explained.
McAlpin says these break-ins are becoming very popular and that he's talked with agencies as far away as Mississippi about it. He says there have been no reports of burglaries since the one in Sneads. McAlpin says most of the stores are independently owned.
If you have any information on the burglaries, you are asked to contact your local police department.