Eli Lilly warehouse thieves make off with $76m haul

Eli Lilly logoEli Lilly suffered a major theft at a warehouse facility in Enfield, Connecticut, on March 14 when thieves made off with an estimated $76m-worth of pharmaceutical products.

Reports indicate the perpetrators gained entry to the warehouse by disabling the phone lines, cutting a hole in the roof and rappelling down inside to gain access to the telecommunications room, where they disabled the alarm and access control systems.

The thieves made off with around 70 pallets of product, according to an alert from the Pharmaceutical Cargo Security Coalition, which notes the modus operandi of the raid "is consistent with a similar pharma warehouse burglary that occurred in 2009 in Richmond, Virginia."

In that case, the thieves made off with 25,000 Advair (fluticasone propionate and salmeterol) asthma inhalers valued at around $5m from a GlaxoSmithKline distribution facility. At the time the PCSC said the methodology used "was "consistent with that used by the organised cargo theft groups operating out of Southern Florida."

The Enfield unit is one of three major warehousing facilities Lilly operates in the USA and serves the east coast region.

The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) is assisting local police with the investigation into the burglary. Products taken included antidepressant Prozac (fluoxetine), attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder treatment Strattera (atomoxetine), Cymbalta (duloxetine) for depression, scizophrenia treatment Zyprexa (olanzapine), cancer drugs Gemzar (gemcitabine) and Alimta (pemetrexed), and the cardiovascular Efient (prasugrel).

Commenting on the case, security specialist FreightWatch recommended that all companies with warehousing operations ensure redundant communication systems are in place, including motion detection and immediate response protocols around the communications, alarms and access control systems.

Other recent thefts

- On March 13 Mead Johnson experienced a full truckload (FTL) theft of infant formula products (Enfamil Premium and Gentlease Lipil) in Richwood, Kentucky. The rig was taken as the driver stopped at a truckstop to use the facilities and the value of the stolen goods is estimated at $365,000. The tractor was recovered in Florence, Kentucky a short time after the theft.

- On March 15 a courier van delivering pharmaceutical products to a Kaiser Permanente facility in Glendale, California, was held up at gunpoint by a male driving a white Ford van. The thief made off with two delivery totes and three cases of assorted pharmaceuticals. As yet the value of the shipment has not been disclosed.

Related articles:

Americas seeing sharp rise in cargo theft
Cargo security initiative will kick off soon in USA

GSK reports asthma inhalers stolen

Pharmaceutical cargo theft: a growing problem

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