Thieves jonesing for drug trucks

ENFIELD, Conn. — Remember that old Byrds’ hit “Drug Store Truck-Drivin’ Man.”?

If they released it today a more suitable title would be “Drug Store Truck Stealin’ Man.”

It turns out, the U.S. is witnessing a virtual crime wave of pharmaceutical truck thefts.

Most recently, thieves took about $75 million worth of drugs from an Eli Lily warehouse in Enfield Connecticut.

About a year ago, a group of thieves in Virginia netted about $5 million worth of drugs from a GlaxoSmithKline warehouse by dropping — Hollywood caper style — through the roof on trapeze-style rigging. They then took their time loading a tractor trailer, which they drove away, safely.

Authorities report that stolen truckloads of drugs are usually shipped to Latin America or to illegitimate online pharmacies. Sometimes, experts say, the hot meds make their way back into the legitimate stream, under private labels.

Most of the thefts occur at truckstops and most, experts say, are non-violent. But with that kind of money involved, they’re the work of pros, who take great care in conducting pre-operation recon to ferret out targets.

Click here for a map 2009 U.S. pharma cargo thefts. 

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