Thursday, March 18, 2010

Audacity: The Eli Lilly Drug Heist

"Boldness or daring, esp. with confident or arrogant disregard for personal safety, conventional thought, or other restrictions."

I remember hearing a story once about a 17 year old kid (he looked older) who worked briefly at a furniture store, during which time he obtained a key for the store. The store was not open on Sundays, so he ran an ad in the paper that everything must go, a typical furniture store ploy promising steep discounts. He then went to the store on that Sunday, unlocked the doors and sold a lot of furniture very cheap.... and pocketing the money.

That's audacity.

Movie goers love audacity. Bold, daring robberies or escapes are a feature of films like It Takes A Thief, Oceans 11 and any number of Elmore Leonard stories. James Bond is all about nerves of steel, being cool under pressure while pulling off the gutsiest heroics.

This past weekend some fairly audacious individuals made off with a whole semi-trailer loaded with Prozac, Cymbalta and Zyprexa from a warehouse in Connecticut, property of the pharmaceutical giant Eli Lilly. This is how it was reported on NPR's All Things Considered.


Sometime this past Sunday in Enfield, Connecticut, thieves pulled off a theft so big and so daring it merits that rare noun: heist. In fact, this one may even quality for that still-rarer label: caper. The Great Connecticut Prozac Caper.

It involves an Eli Lilly warehouse and a haul of Prozac and Cymbalta, both antidepressants, and the antipsychotic medication Zyprexa, enough drugs to improve the outlook of a huge mob of depressives, the company says $75 million worth. And joining us from Hartford, Connecticut, is Stephanie Reitz, a reporter with The Associated Press. Stephanie Reitz, how did they do it?

Ms. STEPHANIE REITZ (Reporter, Associated Press): Well, it was pretty Hollywood-style. According to the police, one or more people, probably more people based on the amount taken, came to this warehouse in the dead of night, in the middle of a storm, daylight savings time, one extra hour of darkness. They scaled the outside wall, cut a hole through the ceiling, rappelled in on a rope, disabled the security alarms and spent the next hour or two loading pallets of drugs, one after the other, into a waiting truck out of the loading dock door.

They've said there were enough drugs taken to easily fill at least a tractor-trailer.

It wasn't diamonds. It wasn't a Vegas casino vault. It wasn't a stolen Renaissance-era masterpiece. It was a truckload of Dr. Feelgood. How will they dispose of it? Are these meds one can dispense on the street?

It would seem that in some capacity there had to be an inside connection, like the kid with the key to the store. So, where does the story go from here?

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