Thieves targeting pharmacies for opioids in Puget Sound

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Published 6:36 am PDT, Thursday, September 5, 2019

Police are tracking a group of thieves breaking into pharmacies to steal addictive opioids.

Investigators believe they’ve hit nearly two dozen medical facilities and pharmacies in Seattle, Renton, Issaquah, Bothell and Kitsap County.

The gang of thieves is seen in surveillance pictures breaking into a pharmacy to score opioids like oxycontin and hydrocodone.

Seattle police said the thieves have hit at least 10 pharmacies and medical facilities in Seattle. Police said even big names like Swedish Hospital and Kaiser Permanente have been targeted.

Detectives think they’ve also gone as far as Kitsap County hitting small pharmacies, too.

Police said the thieves are making a profit on people with addictions.

“It’s direct conflict with what we’re trying to do which is get these people help and then these people who are trying to prey on these people,” said Detective Patrick Michaud with the Seattle Police Department.

One thief works as the lookout while the rest of the group breaks in and snatches opioids which have been harder to get since the CDC recommended new guidelines for prescribing opioids in 2016.

“It’s becoming more difficult for people who are addicted to these to get their hands on them when they feel like they need them. So, having someone break into a pharmacy so they can sell it on the street helps feed the addiction problem we’re trying to fight against,” said Michaud.

One pharmacy owner in Bothell told KOMO News he no longer carries certain opioids after his pharmacy was burglarized twice.

This story first appeared on KOMO NEWS.