Northeast Tarrant

Video shows ‘well-planned’ burglary at SuperValue Pharmacy worth $1 million

Several surveillance cameras captured two heavyset men crawling across the floor of SuperValue Pharmacy in the early hours of New Year’s Eve, successfully avoiding motion detectors and breaking into a safe.

One burglar used a nonnarcotic cough syrup to put out a small flame that erupted as he drilled into the safe that held narcotics such as oxycodone, hydrocodone and morphine, General Manager Jayne Laughbaum said.

The men ultimately got away with about $1 million worth of pharmaceuticals, she said.

Footage shows the men peek in through the pharmacy’s windows about 5 a.m. Dec. 31, 2015. After disabling outside lights, they picked at a back window until pulling it from its frame in one piece. The men slide through.

They rummaged though the pharmacy at 720 N. Industrial Boulevard for two hours while avoiding motion detectors, Laughbaum said.

“The alarm never went off,” she said. “They crawled the whole time because they knew where the motion detectors had been.”

She said the owners got a safe some time back to protect the controlled substances from theft. After one thief used a power tool to cut it open the safe, they looted it of drugs that are “highly marketable” on the street, she said.

There have been nine break-in attempts since Laughbaum has been with the pharmacy for a decade, but she has never seen a burglary so sophisticated.

“The man who broke into the safe cleaned up his tools before he put them back up in his backpack,” Laughbaum sighed.

They didn’t bother to clean up the mess they made, leaving the pharmacy trashed for employees to find a few hours later.

Since the Star-Telegram first starting reporting on the case after seeing a banner outside the pharmacy advertising a “$10,000 reward for the arrest & conviction for the break-in...,” pharmacists have called Laughbaum, thanking the owners for spreading the word.

Cities including Fort Worth and Arlington are investigating drugstore burglaries to see if they could be related, law enforcement said Thursday.

Monica S. Nagy: 817-390-7792, @MonicaNagyFWST