JONESBORO, AR (KAIT) – The Criminal Investigations Division of the Jonesboro Police Department is working several cases of people forcibly entering local pharmacies to steal bottles of medication.
The latest incident occurred Saturday morning at Soo's Drugstore and Compounding Center on Nettleton. Surveillance footage captured a suspect drive a van into the parking lot, smash the front door and steal several bottles of pills.
Jonesboro Police are not sharing exactly what kind of medication was taken, but painkillers with high resale value were likely stolen. One local prevention group says the break-ins, though, should come as no surprise.
"Don't expect if we don't do something about it that these break-ins are going to quit," Skip Mooney Jr. said, adding: "I mean we're going to see worse."
Mooney serves on the board for Out of the Dark, a local grassroots organization advocating for prevention and treatment of drug abuse. The group says more and more young people are abusing prescription painkillers, which has caused a disturbing economic situation.
"If you take 30,000 (Hydrocodone) and multiply it times $10 a pill, that's what kind of money you're talking about," Mooney noted.
He says nearly 30,000 prescription pills are currently circulating through the streets in Jonesboro, but now addicts are taking more brazen steps to get ahold of the high price drugs.
"The Jonesboro Police Department is currently investigating several commercial burglaries where pharmacies have been the targets or the victims of the crimes," Sgt. Lyle Waterworth said.
Soo's Drugstore is still taking inventory after being robbed Saturday, but police responded to a similar situation two weeks ago at Parker Road Specialty Pharmacy.
"(The suspects) are forcing entry in after-hours and going in and taking different types of medications," Waterworth added.
Police may not say which specific medications the suspects are taking, but Waterworth asks local pharmacies to perhaps lock up narcotics.
"If it's harder for people to get to, the likelihood of us getting there and them still being there is higher," he said.
The Jonesboro Police Department insists that its investigators are working diligently to catch the burglars, but Mooney says expensive security systems only temporarily address the growing consequences of addiction.
"If things are as bad 10 years from now as they've grown the last 10 years, we're in trouble," Mooney said, "big trouble."
To join the Out of the Dark effort to eradicate drug abuse, attend a coalition meeting February 2 or visit their Web site here.
To report any information about the pharmacy break-ins, call Jonesboro Police at 933-6710 or 933-STOP.