Man wanted in connection with pharmacy break-ins arrested in Virginia

By Abby Morris

Star Staff

A suspect in the burglary almost one year ago of a local pharmacy was arrested in Virginia Friday in connection with the crime.
   Ryan H. Vandyke, 20, of Richlands, Va., was arrested Friday by Virginia law enforcement officers on warrants taken out by the Elizabethton Police Department. He was extradited and released from the Carter County Jail on a $5,000 bond.
   Vandyke has been charged with two counts of burglary. Charges against an additional suspect are pending at this time, according to EPD Det. Capt. Mike Peters.
   Union Prescription Shop, 402 Bemberg Road, was broken into on Jan. 12, 2002. According to reports, an employee of the pharmacy told officers that when she arrived at work, she found the window in a door at the rear of the building had been shattered. At that time, nothing was found to be missing from the pharmacy, although investigators found a brick inside the pharmacy believed to have been used to break the window.
   On Jan. 13, another break-in occurred. According to that report, the perpetrator broke a glass door to the building with a rock, tripping an alarm. An investigation revealed that two bottles were stolen from the pharmacy, each containing 500 hydrocodone pills, a Schedule III narcotic. The estimated value of the medicine is $1,000.
   At the time of the incident, police had no leads or suspects in the case.
   "What actually broke the case was when Virginia police were searching a residence in Virginia and found the empty prescription bottles," Peters said.
   According to Peters, the bottles found by Virginia law enforcement officers in the Richlands, Va., residence had labels and markings on them from Union Prescription Shop. The officers investigating that accident then contacted the EPD, Peters said.
   Warrants were issued for Vandyke's arrest around the middle of August. At that time, Vandyke was serving a sentence in the Tazewell County (Va.) Jail on similar charges, Peters said. "They wanted him to finish his sentence up there before we extradited him," he added.
   Investigators are currently in the process of getting subpoenas for witnesses should the case go to trial. Vandyke has not yet been arraigned on the two counts of burglary.