$70 Million in Drugs Disappear in Massive Heist

By LeAnne Gendreau and Jeff Stoecker
|  Tuesday, Mar 16, 2010  |  Updated 3:45 PM EDT
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Cops say the drugs stolen this weekend would fill a tractor-trailer.

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Some sophisticated thieves carried out an Ocean's 11-style plot to steal $70 million in drugs from Eli Lilly’s Connecticut warehouse.

 
They cut a hole in the ceiling, rappelled down into the drug warehouse and disabled the alarm system. By the time they were done, they had taken $75 million worth of drugs and other items from Eli Lilly’s warehouse on Freshwater Boulevard in Enfield.
 
The heist is certainly the largest in Enfield history and maybe even state history, Enfield Police Chief Carl Sferrazza said.
 
 The thieves, whose identities remained unknown Tuesday, made off with enough drugs to fill at least one tractor-trailer, police said.
 
"Just by the way it occurred, it appears that there were several individuals involved and that it was a very well planned-out and orchestrated operation," Sferrazza said.
 
Police started to investigate just before 2 a.m. on Sunday and say the thieves seemed to have experience in this kind of operation and have likely done it before.
 
Police think the theft occurred several hours earlier as Enfield caught the edges of a nor'easter that battered the region with heavy rain and wind before dawn Sunday.
 
The FBI has been called in to investigate. Authorities would not comment on whether the building had surveillance video or whether employees were being investigated.
 
Edward Sagebiel, a spokesman for Indianapolis-based Eli Lilly, said the drugs included the antidepressants Prozac and Cymbalta and the antipsychotic Zyprexa. No narcotics or painkillers were taken, he said.
 
Zyprexa and Cymbalta were Eli Lilly's two best-selling drugs last year. Prozac was Lilly's first billion-dollar drug and the company's top seller before it lost patent protection several years ago.

 "It has the appearances of a sophisticated, well-planned criminal action," said Sagebiel, describing the other missing products as "a mix of pharmaceutical products."

 
The thefts will not cause any national shortages of the products, Sagebiel said.
 

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