Arrests Made in Pharmacy Break-Ins
By Rick Hiduk
Arrests have been made following a spree of break-ins to pharmacies in at least three counties. Three of four suspects involved in the Oct. 25 burglary at the Dushore Pharmacy in Sullivan County surrendered to authorities on Nov. 3, according to state police at Laporte. A fourth suspect was apprehended by state police at Gibson and was temporarily remanded to the Susquehanna County Correctional Facility in Montrose. On Nov. 14, it was announced by state police at Towanda that two of the same suspects were accused of also breaking into Miller’s Pharmacy in Wyalusing on Sept. 23.
As a multi-jurisdiction and complicated investigation unfolds, reports have surfaced of another break-in at the Montrose Medical Arts Pharmacy in Susquehanna County in late October. The owner there declined comment as no arrests have yet been made.
Benjamin Ball, 23, Meshoppen; Ian Ball, 24, Montrose; and Derek Stang, 19, Lawton, are accused of entering Miller’s Pharmacy in Wyalusing, where owner Jeffrey Pitcher related they took some over-the-counter painkillers in an apparent search for Vicodin, a prescription painkiller. They did not disturb the cash register at the Wyalusing business, but the register was apparently among the targets at the Dushore Pharmacy.
Store co-owner Mark Stamer said that he did not know what the burglars were searching for, but stated, “They went all through our shelves.” Staff at the Dushore business are still double-checking inventory to determine exactly what was stolen, Stamer added, although police reports cite unspecified prescription medications.
In both Dushore and Wyalusing, the perpetrators boldly smashed and entered through a front window of the store. In each case, surveillance video played a key role in helping investigators identify the thieves. Stang, Benjamin Ball, and Ashley Hemenway, 20, Montrose, were implicated in the Dushore break-in, as was an unnamed male juvenile.
Stang, Hemenway, and the juvenile turned themselves in to police and were arraigned by Magisterial District Judge Jennifer Vandine on Nov. 4. Benjamin Ball initially remained at large but was reportedly nabbed by police in the Montrose area and was also arraigned by Vandine and remanded to Sullivan County Jail in Laporte in lieu of $25,000 bail. No information is yet available on an arrest or the possible detainment of Ian Ball.
“They’re busy guys,” Pitcher remarked in reference to the three known break-ins and a rumored fourth burglarized pharmacy in Kingsley, Susquehanna County.
None of the suspects were known to Pitcher as patrons of the pharmacy, but several of the defendants were well-known to law enforcement officials in Susquehanna County. It has not been determined whether the defendants are searching for pain killers for personal use or for resale.