Feds respond as number of pharmacy burglaries in Southern Utah continues to rise

Compilation of burglaries in Washington County, Utah since August 2017 | Image created by Cody Blowers, St. George News

ST. GEORGE — Another pharmacy burglary reported Tuesday adds to the ever-increasing string of burglaries now stretching across multiple counties throughout Utah and into Nevada, triggering a joint investigation involving local and federal law enforcement, including the FBI.

Tuesday at 3:48 a.m., officers were dispatched to Brent’s Pharmacy, 1091 N. Bluff Street, when an alarm was triggered, St. George Police Public Information Officer Lona Trombley said.

Officers arrived minutes later to find the front entrance door damaged and, once inside, determined that a burglary had occurred. Detectives also responded to the store and found the cabinet door that secured the narcotic medication was sitting open.

Detectives remained in the store to process the scene, preserve evidence and view the surveillance footage captured by store’s security system showing the burglary taking place.

“The surveillance footage was later turned over to police,” Trombley said.

The type and amount of narcotics taken were unavailable at the time of this report.

As the number of pharmacy burglaries continues to rise, police departments in Washington and Iron counties have begun working with federal officers to target the problem, Parowan Police Chief Ken Carpenter said.

He requested federal assistance in September after a Parowan pharmacy was hit for the second time.

Read more: WATCH: Police agencies work together on spate of pharmacy burglaries in Southern Utah

Carpenter said that another pharmacy burglary was reported in Nephi two or three days ago.

The FBI agreed to help, bringing additional resources to the investigation as well as information sharing and coordination with police departments throughout the state. The agency also has interstate authority in the event the narcotics are being taken across state lines.

Sandra Barker, public affairs specialist with the FBI’s Salt Lake City division, told St. George News, “We are involved in a joint investigation.”

Trombley confirmed that multiple law enforcement agencies, including the St. George Police Department, are working with federal officers throughout Southern Utah and Nevada.

“These pharmacy burglaries are open, active investigations that are a coordinated effort between numerous police departments and … the FBI,” Trombley said.

Anyone with information on these incidents is asked to contact St. George Police at 435-627-4300.

This report is based on statements from police or other emergency responders and may not contain the full scope of findings. Persons arrested or charged are presumed innocent until found guilty in a court of law or as otherwise decided by a trier-of-fact.


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Copyright St. George News, SaintGeorgeUtah.com LLC, 2017, all rights reserved.

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1 Comment

  • Caveat_Emptor October 14, 2017 at 4:07 pm

    Not to dismiss how serious these burglaries have been, feeding an illegal market for prescription drugs, it seems like the measures used to secure the target products are seriously inadequate.
    Is it unrealistic to expect these businesses to install a vault-like storage unit, on premises?
    If I was their insurance company, I would have to insist on high definition video recording equipment, and a truly secure vault for the target products.
    My guess is that 90% of the products in these pharmacies are of no interest to these thieves. The last 10% should be stored in a more secure manner, so thieves are less interested.

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