A Steamboat Springs teenager was arrested Saturday morning after allegedly breaking into Bonfiglio Drug in Oak Creek and attempting to steal more than $3,000 worth of prescription drugs, Oak Creek Police Officer Felipe Nardo said.
After a brief foot chase, the 17-year-old boy was arrested on suspicion of four felony charges: first-degree burglary, theft, criminal mischief and possession of burglary tools, including an ice pick, wire cutters, bolt cutters, screwdrivers and a knife, Nardo said. He was taken to the Grand Mesa Youth Services Center in Grand Junction, Nardo said.
The break-in occurred about 4:45 a.m. An intruder entered Bonfiglio Drug, 118 Main St., by breaking the glass front door, setting off an intrusion alarm in the process, Nardo said. Because the door is constructed from safety glass, similar to that of a car windshield, the burglar had to strike it several times before crunching it far enough to climb through, drug store owner David Bonfiglio said.
Once inside, the intruder allegedly removed a 5-foot steel bolt from across the back door to create what Bonfiglio and police believe was his escape route. To get into the pharmacy area, the person had to break through a second thick, plastic shutter door, which apparently was jimmied open with a tools, setting off another alarm, Bonfiglio said.
Bonfiglio said the intruder set off about five alarms within the store. He said the security doors and shutters did their job by slowing the intruder, giving police more time to arrive on the scene. "I was on my way and so were the police," Bonfiglio said.
Nardo said that when he arrived at the scene, he drove around the back of the building and noticed the back door ajar. Then he heard Bonfiglio yell twice -- once at the fleeing suspect and then at Nardo to help chase him.
Bonfiglio said that he saw the suspect casually walk out the front door and that he yelled at him. The suspect then picked up speed, running across Main Street, as Bonfiglio and Nardo chased him.
As they ran, Bonfiglio said the suspect dropped a red duffel bag behind the Select Super Grocery Store at 103 Main St., and said he was sorry but kept running. The bag contained prescription drugs that appeared to have been taken from Bonfiglio's pharmacy.
Bonfiglio and Nardo chased the suspect until he jumped into a creek in the middle of town.
Oak Creek Police Chief Tim Willert arrived shortly after, and he and Nardo searched the dark creek with flashlights. The two searched the creek for about 10 minutes, when Willert said he saw the suspect's red and white tennis shoes poking out from underneath the water. He found the suspect lying on his back. He called Nardo, and the two arrested the boy, who did not resist, Willert said.
"He kept apologizing," Willert said. "He knew he was wrong, and he probably felt like his life was over. He more or less admitted to the whole thing."
The boy is the only suspect in the burglary, Willert said.
"He was definitely scared," Bonfiglio said. "I think by that time, he was wishing he hadn't done it. He was probably a semi-nice kid, who did something really stupid, and I feel bad for that, I really do. But he made the decision, and now he's going to have to deal with it."
Damage to the front door is estimated at about $500. An empty cash register also was broken into, doing $200 worth of damage, Nardo said. Several shelves in the pharmacy were knocked over.
Police declined to specify what prescription drugs were found in the duffel bag dropped by the suspect, but Bonfiglio said they clearly were taken from his store. They were all dangerous drugs, Bonfiglio added.
"The fact that they didn't get out on the street is what I was concerned about," Bonfiglio said. "I certainly credit (the Oak Creek Police Department) for doing their job well. I wouldn't have been able to catch him myself. I hope this sends a message to the area that this sort of thing won't be tolerated, and you will get caught."
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