Powerful pain killers were stolen from pharmacy, while other drugs and valuables were left
A reward is being offered for information leading to the arrest of the individual or individuals responsible for the June 21 burglary of a Salem area pharmacy.
Salem Police Chief Al Roork said a burglar or burglars broke into the Salem Drug Company overnight and took "substantial" quantities of schedule two narcotic pain medications including Oxycontin, morphine and Percocet.
"These pain killers are very potent and are kept in a special place," Roork said. "They're not the type of drugs you keep on the shelf."
Investigator Brian Sanderson of the 16th Judicial District Drug Task Force said the amount of the reward had not been determined as of press time.
"This is a large amount of dangerous narcotics," Sanderson said. "Whoever perpetrated this crime knew what they were doing."
Sanderson said investigators have developed several leads in the case and have conducted multiple interviews.
He said the diversion unit of the Drug Enforcement Agency may become involved in the investigation later this week.
"The DEA works on pharmacy break-ins most of the time," Sanderson said.
None of the drugs taken is related to the production of methamphetamine, Roork said.
During its last session the Arkansas Legislature passed a law requiring cold pills containing psuedoephdrine be sold at pharmacies in limited quantities.
Tablets containing psuedoephedrine are a key ingredient in methamphetamine manufacture.
Former 16th Judicial District Drug Task Force Chief Scott Russell said the new law is curbing methamphetamine manufacture but makes pharmacies more susceptible to thefts.
The wholesale value of the drugs stolen was at least $6,000, with the retail value being much higher, Roork said.
Darla York, owner of the Salem Drug Company, said she was shocked when she found out her business had been burglarized.
"This is the first time I've ever been robbed," York said. "Other than the drugs that were taken nothing else was destroyed. I'm truly appreciative of that."
Besides the drugs, York said no other items, including jewelry or the cash register, were taken.
The intruders gained access by breaking through a back door with a crowbar, York said.
She said the pharmacy has a security system, but the outside phone lines were cut before the break-in, rendering the system useless.
Whoever took the drugs knew exactly what types of medication they were after, Roork said. He said weaker pain medications such as hydrochodone and Zanax were left on the shelves untouched.
The door damaged during the burglary has been replaced.
York, who has owned the Salem Drug Company for seven years with her husband, Ted, said she has insurance but doesn't know if it will cover the full price of the items taken.
"Right know I'm trying to inventory all our medications," York said. "We have to have it all audited in the next seven days for the legal process. After that I'll start worrying about the money."
Roork would not say if his department has any suspects, but said the investigation will continue.
"This is a tough case and we're working it," Roork said.
Anyone with information about the burglary can contact the Fulton County Sheriff's Department at 870-895-2601 or the Drug Task Force at 870-793-3622. Callers can remain anonymous.