On August 8, 2017, at approximately 5:30 a.m. the Rolla Police Department received a
911 call of a burglary in progress at the Walgreens Pharmacy located at 120 S. Bishop Avenue in Rolla. Officers immediately responded to this location and when they arrived, they found that
forced entry had been gained into the building through the pharmacy drive-up window.
On August 8, 2017, at approximately 5:30 a.m. the Rolla Police Department received a 911 call of a burglary in progress at the Walgreens Pharmacy located at 120 S. Bishop Avenue in Rolla. Officers immediately responded to this location and when they arrived, they found that forced entry had been gained into the building through the pharmacy drive-up window. They also determined that the suspects had just fled the scene in an unknown direction of travel.
While officers were securing the crime scene, information was received through Walgreens Corporate Security and from the Houston (TX) Police Department that this incident was possibly related to other Walgreens pharmacy burglaries that had occurred throughout the Midwest. A description of the suspects and vehicles believed to be involved in this incident were provided and the information was disseminated to area law enforcement agencies. Approximately an hour later, information was received that two vehicles, along with five individuals who matched the descriptions provided by the Houston Police Department, had been stopped by the Missouri State Highway Patrol’s, Troop G officers in Texas County, Missouri.
As a result of the traffic stop, evidence related to the Rolla Walgreens Pharmacy burglary, including narcotics, burglar’s tools, clothing, masks, and sledge hammers were located and recovered. Jeremy R. Phillips, age 26, Micah I. Lazaro, age 26, Walter Dallas, age 28, Anthony R. Smith, age 22, and Raymond D. Ford, age 26 all of Houston, TX, were arrested and subsequently charged with burglary in the second degree, possession of a controlled substance with the intent to distribute, property damage in the first degree, and possession of burglar’s tools. All five were returned to Rolla and were incarcerated in the Phelps County Jail in lieu of a $500,000.00 bond.
As a result of the follow-up investigation into this incident, it was determined that these individuals were part of a large organized crime group based in Houston, TX which are under investigation for multiple Walgreens Pharmacy burglary incidents that have occurred throughout the Midwestern part of the United States. Rolla Chief of Police Sean Fagan confirmed this was the same crime group that robbed Sinks Pharmacy last year.
Chief Fagan said the group operates by sending small cells of men along I-44, using rental cars and targeting pharmacies along the way. The group specifically targets narcotics, often ignoring any cash on hand.
“This is a group we’d been investigating for some time,” said Chief Fagan. He explained that when the Sinks Pharmacy burglary occurred last year, it was a team of Rolla officers that went to Houston to investigate, leading to the discovery of the large crime group.
This incident is still under investigation by the Rolla Police Department’s Criminal Investigations Unit and the Houston Police Department. Anyone having additional information regarding this incident is encouraged to contact Detective Derrick Dillon at the Rolla Police Department’s Division of Criminal Investigations Unit at (573) 308-1213, or you can remain anonymous by calling the Rolla Police Department’s confidential tip line at (573) 364-0111.