Suspects sentenced for robbery of 25,000 pills in Eastpointe

By: Brendan Losinski | Roseville - Eastpointe Eastsider | Published July 12, 2019

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EASTPOINTE — Two defendants have been sentenced in connection to the robbery of an Eastpointe pharmacy in June of 2018.

According to the United States Attorney’s Office in Detroit, in the early hours of June 26, 2018, four suspects attempted to rob a Walgreens pharmacy in Eastpointe. Two of the four suspects were arrested after a vehicular chase.

“The charges in this case are extremely serious, and the opioids these defendants stole are among the most deadly in our community,” United States Attorney Matthew Schneider wrote in an email. “Thanks to the efforts of the officers of the Eastpointe Police Department, those drugs never made it onto our streets.”

Eastpointe police officials said the suspects broke into the pharmacy through the drive-thru window and loaded two safes filled with prescription medication onto a truck before driving off with them.

“They were pulling out of the lot when we pulled up responding to the pharmacy’s alarm,” said Eastpointe Deputy Chief Eric Keiser. “They had broken into the pharmacy and loaded up a truck with safes containing narcotic prescription pills. These pills are obviously very valuable, as they can be sold for a significant profit. We initiated a pursuit.”

The vehicular chase proceeded through the streets of Eastpointe and into Detroit. In the course of the chase, the safes containing the pills fell off the truck and crashed into the road.

“They were driving recklessly to try and get away from the officer, and the back-and-forth motion caused the safes to fall out the back,” said Keiser. “The safes were immediately secured by other officers while others continued the pursuit. The vehicle fled into Detroit and drove around a small area back and forth on different streets and finally lost control while taking a corner, and the vehicle crashed and four individuals exited the vehicle and fled.”

A search began for the four suspects, and two were apprehended following the incident. The two suspects arrested were identified as 21-year-old Larry Baker III and 19-year-old Devin Reed, both of Eastpointe. The pair were arraigned in 38th District Court before the case was bound over to the U.S. District Court in Detroit, where they were sentenced July 8.

“We had the Detroit police come and assist us, and (they) were instrumental in apprehending Mr. Baker. They then turned him over to us,” explained Keiser. “At the scene of the crash, we recovered a small amount of blood inside, so we took that as evidence, and the state police lab checked the DNA, and we used that to identify Devin Reed from that. The other two suspects were never identified. The case was never closed on them and the statute of limitations on the crime has not expired, so we are still looking for the other two.”

Baker was charged with one count of breaking and entering of a building with intent, one count of conspiracy to commit the breaking and entering of a building, one count of concealing and receiving stolen property, and one count of third-degree fleeing police. He was sentenced to six years in prison as a result of a plea agreement.

Reed was charged with one count of breaking and entering of a building with intent and one count of conspiracy to commit breaking and entering of a building. He was sentenced to five years in prison as a result of a plea agreement.

Both defendants were ordered to serve three years of supervised release following their prison sentences.

The safes contained medications, including opioids such as fentanyl, oxycodone and hydrocodone, valued at more than $100,000. Keiser said crimes of this nature are increasing and that businesses that sell or process prescription drugs are becoming targets for criminals more and more often.

“They broke in through the drive-thru window and stole some very heavy safes, so there wasn’t much more the business could have done to prevent this,” he said. “This kind of crime is becoming more common as criminals adapt to safety procedures like these, so the best advice is that businesses have good camera systems so we can identify them and ensure they are arrested if they attempt anything like this.”

Law enforcement officials involved in the case expressed their satisfaction with the outcome.

“We’re happy this one worked out and these convictions came through,” said Keiser. “These suspects won’t be committing any more crimes, and they’re off the streets. We like working with the people of Eastpointe to keep the city safer. If someone sees something, we want them to say something.”

Baker’s attorney, Daniel Garon, could not be reached for comment in time for publication. Reed’s attorney, Andrew Wise, did not wish to comment.