Gang Targets Pharmacies for Burglaries

A Houston-based gang called the 5th Ward has been accused of burglarizing 18 pharmacies since January 2014.

A Houston-based gang called the 5th Ward has been accused of burglarizing 18 pharmacies since January 2014.

The gang may be responsible for stealing hundreds of thousands of dollars’ worth of pharmacy items and prescription medications in the Austin, Texas, area.

KEYE TV reported the police issued warrants for 3 of the gang members: Johntethon Smith, Lence Burnley, and Kelvin Brandon.

“They’re able to organize better, and they’re not doing the crimes in their backyards, so I guess they think they’re less likely to get caught,” Austin Police Detective Christopher Juusola told KEYE TV.

The gang members are also suspected in pharmacy burglaries in Louisiana, Georgia, Oklahoma, Florida, Utah, and North Carolina, as well.

“They’ll try to take all of the controlled substances out of the pharmacies that they can get, and that way they can take it back to Houston and sell it,” Juusola told KEYE TV.

According to KEYE TV, the gang burglarized Apothecary Shop Pharmacy twice in 1 month, which led the owner to put iron bars on his doors and windows. Another pharmacy owner said $75,000 worth of drugs were stolen in 1 day.

KVUE reported some of the drugs the gang has allegedly stolen include morphine, methadone, oxycodone, opium, hydrocodone, amphetamine, and codeine.

It typically takes less than 2 minutes for the gang members to burglarize the pharmacies, and they tend to target small, independent pharmacies.