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Police investigating spree of pharmacy burglaries in southern Utah

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Posted at 5:01 PM, Jun 04, 2013
and last updated 2013-06-04 19:01:23-04

ST. GEORGE – Police in Southern Utah and Nevada are investigating a string of burglaries at local pharmacies after three stores were hit the same night and within hours of each other.

The first break-in happened at the Hurricane Walgreens around 1:40 Saturday morning. Police said they found signs of forced entry into the building, but the suspects weren’t inside.

The second pharmacy hit was Stapley’s Family Pharmacy in St. George. Police said around 3:00 a.m., the burglars tripped the store’s alarm. But by the time officers arrived, the thieves were gone.

“We believe that they operated very quickly,” said St. George Police Sergeant Sam Despain. “[They] made entry, found what they were looking for and got out very fast.”

Pharmacy owner Evan Stapley said the thieves got away with close to $2,000 in prescription drugs, mostly narcotics. Unfortunately, this isn’t the first time his pharmacy has been the target of thieves.

“Pharmacy is a place that has a lot of the things that a lot of people want,” Stapley said. “People were asking, ‘How much money did they take?’ Well, they didn’t want the money.”

The store’s surveillance cameras recorded video of the three suspects rifling through drawers. Police identify them as male, but their faces were covered with masks.

The third burglary happened just a few hours later at a Mesquite Walgreens store.

“[There were] similar circumstances,” Despain said. “So our detectives were able to get together, compare evidence that was gathered at both scenes, and they believe that these could perhaps be linked.”

Despain said it’s unclear if the suspects are local or just passing through. They’re asking anyone who may have seen anything suspicious to contact Hurricane, St. George, or Mesquite police by calling the numbers listed below.

St. George Police Department – 435-634-5000

Hurricane City Police Department – 435- 635-9663

Mesquite Police Department – 702-346-5262