Charges filed in pharmacy robbery

Criminal charges have been filed for two individuals suspected of breaking and entering at a Lovell business, and getting away from the scene with a large supply of prescription medication.

The Lovell Police Department has identified two suspects in the burglary of about 530 pills from Lovell Drug with a street value of at least $22,000, according to Lovell Chief of Police Nick Lewis. The suspects were identified in court documents as Jacob D. Bassett and Patrick R. Durtsche.

The break-in was discovered at 4:45 a.m. Monday by a Lovell police officer who noticed the pharmacy’s glass door had been shattered. Officers responded to investigate at the scene and business owner Brent Reasch was called to check if anything was missing.

Upon entering the store, Reasch told officers that there were numerous prescription medications missing from the store’s pharmacy, Lewis said.

From there, it was solid police work that led officers to identify the suspects. They collected evidence at the scene including video surveillance footage that showed two men in the store wearing ski masks.

The majority of the medication was recovered after search warrants were executed Monday at several locations connected to the crime. The case was submitted to the county attorney for review following the police investigation.

Lewis said a “low-ball” street value estimate of the medication taken, which includes narcotic painkillers like oxycodone and hydrocodone, is about $22,000. The estimate is based on a price of $30 per pill, Lewis said, but the LPD sometimes sees prices as high as $75 per pill depending on the size. Lewis said a base price of about $1 per milligram was common a year or two ago, but now pills are selling for much higher prices or “whatever the market will bear.”

Lewis said he would like to thank Sheriff Ken Blackburn and the deputies who assisted with the investigation.

Charges of one count of burglary for each of the suspects were filed by County Attorney Michelle Burns and validated by Big Horn County magistrate Randy Royal Wednesday. Burglary is punishable by imprisonment for not more than 10 years, a fine of not more than $10,000 or both.