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Police continue probe of pharmacy break-in

MEDFORD — Medford police continue to investigate a Thanksgiving break-in at The Medicine Shoppe on East Main Street in which the burglar — believed to have inside information about the pharmacy — stole Vicodin.

"The drug market is not just illegal substances; it's also controlled substances," Medford police Sgt. Mark Boone said.

He noted that prescription pain medications are a particularly prevalent problem.

Earlier this year, the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy reported that prescription painkillers now rank second — only behind marijuana — in the list of most commonly abused drugs nationwide. That report noted that the nonmedical use of prescription drugs affects 6.4 million people.

The burglary at The Medicine Shoppe, 613 E. Main, was reported just before 5 p.m. Thursday when Thanksgiving celebrations had thinned crowds on Medford streets. The burglar broke in, but managed to avoid surveillance cameras and stole "a few bottles" of Vicodin, Boone said.

"This guy knew what he was doing," Boone said. "He knew some inside information."

An alarm company notified police of the break-in about eight minutes after it happened, but Boone said such a delay isn't uncommon.

Break-ins at pharmacies aren't rare either. In January, a burglar kicked in a door at Rogue Valley Medical Center's Asante Health System pharmacy on East Barnett Road and snatched nearly 10,000 pain pills. In February, burglars made off with a safe full of painkillers from Franck's Compounding Pharmacy on Ellendale Drive in Medford and shattered a window to steal narcotics from Rogue River Pharmacy. Both the Josephine County Sheriff's Department and the Grants Pass Department of Public Safety also had open investigations on pharmacy break-ins around that time.

Boone said investigators haven't yet had a chance to compare the cases, but would share the details across teams and agencies.

"We have a good cross-pollination of information," he said.