KALAMAZOO, Mich. — Law enforcement arrested two people they believe are connected to several pharmacy burglaries across multiple states over the past year, including an attempt in Kalamazoo County earlier this week.
Keonta Dure Anthony and Dajohn Christopher Davis were arrested Tuesday after allegedly breaking into Westside Pharmacy and triggering an alarm, according to a criminal complaint filed in federal court.
The agent writing the complaint says he believes that – based on the amount of drugs stolen and the frequency of the burglaries – the suspects were likely distributing the controlled substances they stole.
Mattawan, Sept. 1, 2020:
The complaint goes on to describe a “small sample” of the burglaries investigated, starting with one on Sept. 1, 2020 in Mattawan.
That burglary happened about 6:10 a.m. at the Medicine Tree Pharmacy, according to the complaint.
Surveillance footage showed three Black men wearing face coverings, hooded sweatshirts and gloves force their way through the front door of the pharmacy.
One of the men was carrying a large, black plastic trash bag that authorities say was later used to gather the stolen items and cash.
Two individuals tried to force their way through the locked, metal roll-down doors that secured the room containing all the controlled substances.
They used a long, yellow crowbar and a long, green crowbar, but weren’t able to open the metal door. No controlled substances were taken, according to the complaint.
The suspects drove a vehicle that looked like a blue Ford Explorer, exterior surveillance video showed.
The complaint says Anthony received a text message from Davis about 5:18 a.m. that same morning, giving the address of what authorities identified as the Homewood Suites by Hilton Kalamazoo-Portage.
The DEA agent believes the two stayed at the hotel the night before the attempted burglary of the Medicine Tree Pharmacy, which is about 11 miles away from the hotel.
Cell site records showed Davis’ cell phone was near the Medicine Tree Pharmacy just before 6 a.m.
Minneapolis, Oct. 19, 2020:
Another burglary investigation took place Oct. 19, 2020, this time in Minneapolis, the complaint said.
This one happened about 5:45 a.m. at the Fairview Hiawatha Pharmacy, where the Minneapolis Police Department responded and determined that someone had forced their way through the front door using a crowbar.
Investigators also say someone also forced their way into a locked cabinet containing controlled substances using a crowbar.
Twelve different drugs estimated to be worth more than $13,000 were taken.
Later that day, Wisconsin State Patrol stopped a blue Chevrolet Cruze about 8:50 a.m. for a traffic violation near Exit 105 near Hixton.
They identified Anthony as the driver of the vehicle. There was also a man sitting in the front seat whom they did not identify.
Anthony told the trooper they had visited the Mall of America in Minnesota and were on their way back to Michigan.
The pharmacist in charge at Fairview Hiawatha Pharmacy told investigators it’s common practice for their pharmacists to mark the top of a pill bottle with a handwritten “X” to identify that the pill bottle has already been opened.
Investigators found multiple photos on Anthony’s phone showing bottles with various controlled substances with accompanying National Drug Code numbers, several of which had the letter “X” handwritten on top of the pill bottles.
Photos and other metadata obtained from Anthony’s phone also revealed several photos taken on the evening of Oct. 19, 2020, showing Anthony, his brother and Davis, who was holding a large stack of cash, according to the complaint.
Cell phone records showed Davis had been near the Hiawatha Family Pharmacy about 3:30 a.m. and 4:20 a.m.
Georgetown, Kentucky, Dec. 24, 2020:
Another pharmacy burglary happened on the morning of Dec. 24, 2020, in Georgetown, Kentucky.
The Georgetown Police Department responded just after 6:40 a.m. to the Georgetown Apothecary and determined that someone had forced their way through one of the pharmacy’s windows.
Traces of blood were found in and around the area where the glass had been shattered, the complaint said.
Police say about four different controlled substances valued at about $100 had been stolen.
Investigators showed a pharmacy employee several photos of a Xanax pill bottle and a Promethazine with codeine syrup bottle, which had been found on Anthony’s phone.
The employee confirmed that the NDC numbers visible on both bottles matched the National Drug Code numbers for the same controlled substances stolen from the Georgetown Apothecary.
In addition, investigators found photos of Anthony’s phone of a wound on his leg that they believe resulted from shattered glass.
Detectives obtained a search warrant for a sample of Anthony’s DNA from the Eastern District of Michigan to compare to the blood left at the pharmacy and are awaiting the results of the comparison analysis.
Surveillance footage of the burglary showed the individuals involved used a metal baseball bat to break into the pharmacy.
That bat appeared similar in size, grip placement and sticker placement to a baseball bat seized from Anthony’s car on Feb. 2, according to the complaint.
Grand Rapids, Michigan, Feb. 11, 2021:
Kay Pharmacy in Grand Rapids also experienced a burglary, this time about 5:35 a.m. on Feb. 11.
Surveillance footage showed a vehicle that looked like a blue 2020 Ford Explorer driving slowly by the front door at about 4:56 a.m., 5:13 a.m., 5:18 a.m. and at 5:33 a.m. before backing up next to the back door.
One individual with a sledgehammer tried to break in about 5:35 a.m. through the reinforced glass of the back door and adjacent window, while at least one other individual waited to get inside, according to the complaint.
Information in Anthony’s phone showed that he had been near the Kay Pharmacy on multiple occasions, and the DEA agent writing the complaint said he believes Anthony had been there to plan the burglary they would later try to commit.
Investigators obtained evidence of the burglaries in both Grand Rapids and Kalamazoo.
Law enforcement learned on Feb. 2 that Anthony was in the Grand Rapids area at the Plaza Hotel on 28th Street SE, and soon after saw him and two other individuals walk out of the hotel.
They got into a silver Jeep Cherokee registered in Anthony’s name and drove to a separate location, where Anthony got out of the Jeep and leaned into a blue Ford Explorer that investigators say looked like the one used in several of the burglaries.
All three individuals left in the Jeep Cherokee, which the Kent County Sheriff’s Department stopped for a traffic violation.
Anthony agreed to return to the hotel and consented to a search of the Ford Explorer, which was later discovered to have been stolen out of the Detroit area, according to the complaint.
Authorities found and seized burglary tools in the vehicle, including crow bars, angle grinders, bolt cutters, a baseball bat, a sledgehammer, a mask and gloves.
Multiple cell phones were also seized, including Anthony’s, which he told police was his.
Then, at about 12:15 a.m. on June 15, investigators saw a silver Jeep Cherokee registered to Anthony and a 2020 Jeep Compass – a rental car – travelling in tandem westbound on I-94 near Ann Arbor.
Investigators followed and surveilled the Jeeps.
Both Jeeps were parked at a gas station in Kalamazoo soon after 4 a.m.
Three people got out of the Jeeps and talked in the gas station parking lot, leaving just after 4:10 a.m.
The GPS tracker on the Jeep Compass showed about 5:20 a.m. that it was parked directly in front of the Westside Pharmacy in Kalamazoo. It then showed, at about 5:25 a.m., that the Jeep Compass had left the area and travelled north on US-131.
An alarm had been triggered at Westside Pharmacy at about 5:35 a.m., which was closed at the time.
Law enforcement responding found that the front door had been forced open and there was shattered glass.
However, it appeared that there were security bars that prevented the burglars from entering the main part of the pharmacy, according to the complaint.
Michigan State Police saw the two Jeeps traveling about 5:50 a.m. north on US-131.
They stopped the Cherokee, which pulled over, and identified Anthony as the driver and only occupant of the Cherokee.
Marked police units followed the Compass and turned on their lights and sirens.
However, the Compass continued onto I-96 and sped to up to more than 100 miles per hour before exited the highway traveling south on M-100.
It eventually ran into a home on Greenwood Street in Grand Ledge at about 6:50 a.m.
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Two occupants fled the Compass on foot.
Investigators followed, arrested one and identified him as Davis at about 7 a.m.
They lost sight of the second passenger despite establishing a perimeter and canvassing the area.
A preliminary search of the Compass revealed three crowbars, multiple sets of cloth gloves, Davis’ driver’s license and “a small quantity” of unidentified pills.
Read the full criminal complaint here.