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Alabama man charged in Benson pharmacy burglary

BENSON -- One man has been charged in connection to the burglary of Breen's Pharmacy in Benson, with more arrests and charges expected.

According to Benson Police Chief Jim Crace, Michael James McClintock, 55 of Hanceville, Ala., has been charged in Swift County District Court with second-degree burglary in connection with the crime. Two other Alabama men are suspects, with one under arrest, but are not yet charged in the local case.

The men are suspects in several other pharmacy burglaries late last year in the upper midwest, Crace said. The other pharmacies were in Olivia, Dawson, Baker, Mont., and Phillip, S.D.

"Our investigation has revealed that these guys were traveling up to the midwest and committing these burglaries at small town pharmacies because they believed they lack adequate security systems," Crace said. "Once they made entry into the stores; they would take as much of the controlled substances that they could and then return to Alabama where they would sell the prescription medications for recreational use. Because they were transporting these stolen drugs across state lines, federal laws are applicable."

Representatives from the various police departments and county attorney offices along with agents from the South Dakota Division of Criminal Investigations, FBI and the Drug Enforcement Administration, met in March to compile evidence against the men.

"The goal of that meeting was to compile all of the evidence that each individual department had together with the intent of presenting it to the FBI and DEA for consideration of federal charges," Crace stated. "Federal laws carry stiffer penalties than that of Minnesota statutes."

Read more about the charges and this case in Friday's West Central Tribune.