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Pill-heist suspects emerge

Two men wanted on burglary charges

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 sought in connection with the March burglary at the Community Health Association of Spokane clinic on North Maple Street, the most recent 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 related to the March 2 burglary, according to an affidavit filed last week in Spokane County Superior Court. The stolen phone led investigators to the pair.

Police don’t know whether the five burglaries are connected.

In each incident, the culprits smashed a lower-level window, then pried open a door to access the pharmacy.

The clinic lost more than 10,000 hydrocodone, OxyContin and oxycodone pills during the first burglary, on July 28. It lost more than 3,800 oxycodone and OxyContin pills last November. Nothing was stolen during two February break-ins.

In the latest burglary, thieves made off with more than 2,400 pills of hydrocodone and clonazepam, an anxiety medicine, according to a report by Spokane police Detective Brian Cestnik.

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 said.

A cell phone left near the pharmacy door led Cestnik to Barton and Chodorowski.

The phone’s owner told the detective 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.

The woman also told police Barton and Chodorowski showed her pills stolen in the burglary and said they were selling the hydrocodone for $5 each, according to the report.

Two other witnesses told investigators the same thing, according to police.

Chodorowski’s criminal history includes convictions for being a 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.

Meghann M. Cuniff can be reached at (509) 459-5534 or at meghannc@spokesman.com.


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Then and Now: Comstock Park

James M. Comstock, born in 1838 in Wisconsin, arrived in Spokane in time to witness the great fire of 1889 and start Spokane Dry Goods with Robert Paterson. It became the Crescent, Spokane’s premier department store for a century. He also worked in real estate and owned other businesses. He served a term as Spokane mayor, starting in 1899. James Comstock died in 1918.