Billings Man Sentenced For Walgreens Drug Theft
BILLINGS - A 22-year-old Billings man was sentenced today for breaking into Walgreens and stealing hundreds of prescription pills. Travis John Bell was sentencing in connection with his April guilty plea to possession with intent to distribute oxycodone. Bell was sentenced to 48 months in prison followed by 3 years of supervised release. In addition, Bell was ordered to pay $19,997.75 in restitution to Walgreens.
In an offer of proof, Assistant U.S. Attorney Paulette Stewart told the court that on January 17, 2014, Billings Police Department (BPD) officers were dispatched to the Walgreens located at 3333 Grand Avenue in Billings regarding a burglary in progress complaint. BPD dispatch advised the officers that a security company that worked for Walgreens was watching a live feed and could see a male inside the store going back and forth from the pharmacy to the back door.
Officers arrived on scene and observed a red Dodge neon near the back garage door. It appeared that the garage door was damaged. Officers also observed a tow strap, attached to the car and secured to the rolling garage door. BPD observed a male bring a plastic bag of items out of the back door and reenter the building. Later, officers determined that the plastic bag was filled with prescription medications and syringes. BPD officers then watched Bell walk inside the store through a mirror inside the store. A short time later, Bell walked out the front door where he was arrested by the officers. Bell had a hammer, a screwdriver, and seven plastic pill bottles. The bottles contained various prescription drugs, including 136 OxyContin pills.
During the investigation, law enforcement observed damage to the pharmacy window. An officer observed that the Schedule II drug cabinet in the pharmacy was damaged and items were scattered on the floor. A search warrant of Bell's vehicle revealed various tools for the burglary and plastic bag, which contained over 3,000 prescription pills, including over 600 Oxycodone pills.
The case was investigated by the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) and the Billings Police Department.