An overnight prescription pill heist at a Spokane health clinic may have been solved partly because of a stolen cell phone left near a broken pharmacy door.
Two Spokane men are wanted for the burglary last month at the Community Health Association of Spokane Clinic on North Maple Street, the last of five drug-related burglaries that have hit the organization since last summer, records show.
Dale J. Chodorowski, 22, and Anthony D. Barton, 20, face charges for the most recent burglary on March 2, according to an affidavit filed last week in Spokane County Superior Court. The stolen phone led investigators to the pair, but police have yet to solve the other four burglaries and remain uncertain whether they’re connected.
In each incident, the culprits smashed a lower-level window, then pried open a door to access the pharmacy, but they weren’t always successful.
The clinic lost more than 10,000 Hydrocodone, OxyContin and oxycodnone pills during the first burglary on July 28, followed by more than 3,800 Oxycodone and OxyContin pills last November.
Nothing was stolen during two February break-ins. In the latest burglary, though, thieves made off with more than 2,400 Hydrocodone and Clonazepam - an anxiety medicine - pills, according to a police report by Spokane police Detective Brian Cestnik.
The burglaries are a quieter alternative to the high-profile OxyContin-related robberies that prompted extra security at pharmacies and loan stores earlier this year. Clinic employees, who did not return phone calls seeking comment, have since updated the security system, police said.
“So far, nothing else has happened,” Cestnik.
But will another pill-seeking burglar hit elsewhere?
“If we can get a couple of these guys in jail, they’ll realize we’re putting a little extra effort to try to find them,” Cestnik said.
A cell phone left near the pharmacy door led Cestnik to Barton and Chodorowski.
The phone’s owner told him she thought the two had stolen it, and phone records, including a stolen phone claim filed the day of the burglary, backed that claim, according to the police report.
That woman also told police Barton and Chodorowski showed her pills stolen in the burglary and said they were selling the Hydrocodone for $5 each, the report shows.
Two other witnesses told investigators the same thing, according to police.
The Spokane police gang unit will likely look for Chodorowski and Barton today.
Chodorowski’s criminal history includes convictions for minor in possession of alcohol and drunken driving; Barton’s criminal convictions include a burglary charge for stealing and pawning his grandmother’s wedding ring, court records show.
Anyone with information on Chodorowski or Barton’s whereabouts is asked to call Crime Check at (509) 456-2233.
Meghann M. Cuniff can be reached at (509) 459-5534 or at email@example.com.
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