Man arrested for Hilton Head pharmacy burglaries

astice@islandpacket.comJune 25, 2013 

Adam Harris

A North Carolina man accused of robbing several Hilton Head Island pharmacies was caught Sunday when he was found asleep in his car near one of his targets, according to the Beaufort County Sheriff's Office.

Adam Harris, 31, of Monroe, N.C., faces burglary charges stemming from break-ins early Sunday morning.

In two of the burglaries, Harris allegedly stole a variety of prescription-pill medications and chemical compounds worth more than $4,000. In others, the Sheriff's Office said he was less successful, causing only property damage during failed attempts to break in or mistaking a different type of business for a pharmacy.

According to a news release, Harris' spree began at the Island Crossings Walgreen on Palmetto Bay Road, where he caused $2,000 in damage to the pharmacy's drive-thru window but didn't get inside.

Authorities believe Harris next went to Hilton Head Imaging on Main Street, smashing the office's window and glass entry door with a brick, causing $2,500 in damage. According to a Sheriff's Office report, the business owner told deputies the building housed a pharmacy several years ago, but that nothing but files were kept there now. Nothing was stolen, the report said.

Harris has not yet been charged in those burglaries, but he is accused of burglarizing Burke's Pharmacy on Main Street and Stephens Compounding Pharmacy in Pineland Station.

Deputies responded to Burke's at 5:45 a.m. Sunday when its alarm went off, and they found a front window had been shattered and various pills stolen, the release said.

At Stephens, video surveillance captured a man using a crowbar to break in through a side door and stealing a cash drawer containing $150 and more than $600 worth of chemical compounds.

Owner Sheila Stephens said the video footage showed the suspect, wearing gloves but no mask, spending about eight minutes inside the business.

"He didn't seem to be panicked or in a hurry, and the whole time, the alarm was going off, which was ear-piercing," Stephens said.

Stephens said it was clear the burglar was looking for "narcotics pain relievers" based on the chemicals that were stolen.

"I think it was an addiction-craving sort of deal," she said.

Tim Burke of Burke's Pharmacy declined to say what kind of pills were stolen from his business, but the burglary has not affected the business' operations or caused a shortage of medication, he said. Sgt. Robin McIntosh of the Sheriff's Office said the medications taken were "pretty widely varying."

Harris was found asleep in the driver's seat of his car in Port Royal Plaza later that day, where he was reported as a suspicious person to the Sheriff's Office. A number of prescription pill bottles were found inside the vehicle, along with other evidence from the break-ins, the release said.

Most of the pills and chemicals stolen, with the exception of a few pills that Harris is believed to have ingested, have been recovered and taken as evidence. McIntosh said Harris was evaluated by paramedics when he was arrested, but he did not require medical attention.

More charges could be pending after DNA samples collected at Walgreens and Hilton Head Imaging are analyzed.

Harris is being held for prosecution in lieu of $200,000 bond, according to the Beaufort County Detention Center.

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