October 3, 2013

Burglaries in Grady linked to drug use

The Express-Star


Drugs and burglaries in Grady County seem to go hand-in-hand, and the District 6 Task Force, comprised of the Grady County District Attorney’s Office with cooperation with local law enforcement, are doing what they can to prevent drug-related crimes. 

Grady County Sheriff Jim Weir said most of the burglaries the sheriff’s office sees relate back to drugs in one way or another.

“It’s not that they’re necessarily high when they commit the crime, but when they go out to do their burglary or larceny, it’s so they can go out and buy some pot or meth or whatever they need later on,” Weir said. 

Cortnie Siess, Grady County assistant district attorney, agreed, drugs fuel burglaries and drug use is a by-product or reason to commit a burglary.

She said the majority of burglary cases she’s been given in 2013 were either committed to fund a suspect’s drug use, involved a suspect high on drugs, or involved a pharmacy where there are plenty of prescription pain killers. The latter instance occurred recently when a masked man walked into Grand Care Pharmacy and threatened to harm employees unless they turned over various pain killers.

“We’ve noticed a trend in people becoming addicted to prescription pills that are not prescribed to them,” she said. "The pain killers lead to them becoming desperate and doing whatever’s necessary for them get those prescription pills, meaning they go to a pharmacy and commit a robbery or armed robbery or break into pharmacies after they’re closed.”

Siess said another trend she’s noticed is those who are prescribed prescription painkillers or other narcotics turn around and sell them. If the user is caught with the drugs, the authorities can sometimes find the source and arrest the seller, she said.

The three major drugs being abused in Grady County are painkillers, methamphetamine and marijuana. 

With the help of the Grady County District 6 Task Force, the sheriff’s office, along with the district attorney’s office are trying to take the drugs off the streets of cities like Chickasha, but Weir said the public helps solve a lot of these types of cases.

But, burglaries are a hard crime to see coming and often catch people off guard. There are 12 full-time sheriff’s deputies patrolling 1,105 square miles of Grady County, Weir said, so limited manpower is an issue.

There are ways citizens can arm themselves with important information to track their stolen items after a burglary happens.

Weir said in his more than 40 years in law enforcement, there have only been a couple of instances when he’s caught a burglar in the act.

He and Undersheriff Rusty Pyle said citizens should start taking an inventory of serial numbers belonging to their prized possessions, then storing them in a safe location as well as backing them up on a computer or flash drive.

Weir said if more Grady County citizens would write down their serial numbers to TVs, electronic devices, guns, computers and other prized possessions, it would then be easier to track at which shop a burglar may have pawned stolen items.

Anyone with information about drug dealers, burglars or know of those planning burglaries are asked to alert the sheriff’s office by calling (405) 222-1000 or call Chickasha Police Department at (405) 222-6050.