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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
Northern District of Illinois

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Wednesday, August 26, 2020

Two Men Charged in Federal Court With Looting Pharmacies in Chicago

CHICAGO — Two men have been charged in federal court with looting three pharmacies in Chicago.

WILLIAM LORENZ, 40, of Chicago, and IVAN BERMUDEZ, 42, of Chicago, are each charged with one count of conspiracy to commit burglary involving a controlled substance.  Bermudez was arrested Tuesday.  He is scheduled to make an initial court appearance today at 2:30 p.m. before U.S. Magistrate Judge Sheila M. Finnegan.  Lorenz was arrested Monday and has already made his initial appearance.

The charges were announced by John R. Lausch, Jr., United States Attorney for the Northern District of Illinois; Robert J. Bell, Special Agent-in-Charge of the Chicago Field Division of the DEA; and David Brown, Superintendent of the Chicago Police Department.  The FBI Chicago Field Office provided valuable assistance.  The government is represented by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Andrew C. Erskine and Shy Jackson.

“Anyone involved in destructive behavior in Chicago – such as looting a pharmacy for controlled substances – should know that federal law enforcement could be coming for you,” said U.S. Attorney Lausch.  “Our office will continue to work with the DEA, Chicago Police Department, and other law enforcement partners to hold looters accountable in federal court, whenever appropriate.”

“The theft of controlled substance medication from pharmacies results in temporary or permanent closures, disrupting the supply of life-saving medications to the residents of Chicago,” said DEA SAC Bell.  “With this, the diversion of stolen controlled medications is a federal crime, puts more drugs on the street and increases the public’s risk of drug abuse, addiction and overdose.”

According to a criminal complaint filed in federal court, Lorenz and Bermudez conspired to burglarize three Walgreens stores on the evening of May 31, 2020:

  • 1627 N. Pulaski Rd. in Chicago’s Humboldt Park neighborhood.
  • 3110 W. Armitage Ave. in Chicago’s Logan Square neighborhood.
  • 4001 W. Irving Park Rd. in Chicago’s Old Irving Park neighborhood.

Each of the stores was closed at the time of the looting incidents due to civil unrest in the city.  The complaint accuses Lorenz and Bermudez of entering the stores, proceeding to the pharmacy areas, and attempting to remove drugs from the shelves. 

In the Old Irving Park incident, Lorenz attempted to access a pharmacy locker that contained Schedule II controlled substances, but he was unable to gain access, the complaint states.  The incident occurred after a city of Chicago curfew took effect at 9:00 p.m. during the period of unrest, the complaint states.  The two other lootings occurred earlier in the evening.

The public is reminded that a complaint is not evidence of guilt.  The defendants are presumed innocent and entitled to a fair trial at which the government has the burden of proving guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.  The charge in the complaint is punishable by up to ten years in federal prison.  If convicted, the Court must impose a reasonable sentence under federal statutes and the advisory U.S. Sentencing Guidelines.

Topic(s): 
Opioids
Prescription Drugs
Violent Crime
Updated August 26, 2020