WILLIAMSTOWN - Police are investigating a breaking and entering at the Williamstown Pharmacy where intruders rummaged for cash and drugs early Thursday morning, authorities said.
Three males were involved in the break-in that started around midnight, said Sgt. Jerry Ruble of the Williamstown Police Department. They wore hooded sweatshirts and masks concealing their faces, he said. Investigators are asking residents who may have seen or heard anything to contact the police department.
Two of the three went inside the pharmacy and took money and numerous medications, Ruble said.
Sylvia Miles of the Williamstown Pharmacy stands by the narcotics vault from which thieves took medications early Thursday morning after midnight. More than $22,400 in medications were taken, she said.
EVAN BEVINS Special to the Times
The phone wires for the alarm system were cut before entering the store, he said. The front door was then pried open, Ruble said.
Two of the three went inside the store and the other stayed outside, possibly acting as the lookout, Ruble said.
"I believe they probably planned this," Ruble said. "It was well organized."
The security system was systematically disabled, said Sylvia Miles, owner of the store.
"Obviously they probably knew what they were doing or they had done it before," she said.
Inside, the intruders went through the cabinets and knew which prescription medications to take, Miles said.
"They didn't bring anything to carry the stuff in so they took all the trash cans and slung the trash everywhere," she said.
More than $22,400 in medications were taken, Miles said. The culprits broke into the regular safe to get the keys to the narcotics vault, she said.
"Get this, they took the Viagra," she said.
The incident is illustrative of a larger problem, that of addiction to prescription medications, Miles said. West Virginia is among states with a high rate of addiction to prescription pain killers, she said.
"This is a multifaceted problem," she said. "We all have a role in it."
Miles also believes the culprits long planned the breaking and entering. They walked through neighbors' yards and someone may have seen something, which underscores the importance of beat cops and public vigilance, according to Miles.
Knowing someone may be watching could be enough to prevent a crime, she said.
"I know it's a great deterrent," Miles said.
The police department is inspecting the video from the security cameras and may have photos processed from it, Ruble said.
As for the descriptions, one of the suspects inside the store was wearing black pants, a dark hooded sweatshirt and a dark mask, Ruble said. He is about 6-feet tall, Ruble said.
The other is 5-foot-8 to 5-foot-9 and was wearing blue jeans and a gray hooded sweatshirt, Ruble said.
Witnesses with information can call the department at 304-375-4935.
Evan Bevins contributed.