Enfield PD on Eli Lilly warehouse break in: 'We did not receive a call'
Here's how it apparently went down: In the early hours of March 14, an unknown number of thieves scaled the exterior walls of Eli Lilly & Co.'s Enfield, Conn. drug warehouse, cut a hole through the roof (how long must that have taken?), and repelled using climbing gear down into the stockpiles of antidepressants and antipsychotics therein. According to published reports, including stories from the WSJ, the Courant, the Associated Press and USA Today, the history-making thieves took at least a couple hours to locate at least a dozen wooden pallets of desired drugs, painstakingly hoist them up through the hole, load them into a waiting truck and calmly drive away. With $75 million in prescription drugs. That's not only the largest drug heist of its kind, it's also just the latest in a growing trend in recent years, according to an AP report. Far be it from me to blame anyone here, but one has to wonder how this could have happened. How long must it have taken to get this job done? These perps had to have been breaking in, and hoisting those pallets and loading that truck for at least a few hours. None of the published reports says how the in-place security system was circumvented, just that it was. Several reports mention lenses of security cameras being blacked out with spray paint (shouldn't there be tamper alarms on those?) and discs being removed from DVRs (oh, so it wasn't live surveillance but CCTV). I don't want to come off as a commercial, but in this particular situation, the in-place system was blind and deaf (and basically useless). I have to believe that a Sonitrol system would have picked up the sawing through the roof. I also have to believe that a 10-second video clip sent to the central station from a Videofied system would have been cause for dispatch. The point is--and I wrote about this back in October last year--if the alarm had been verified, things might have worked out differently. I'd love to hear from all of you on how this could have or should have turned out differently. And it's not just the drug company that's going to come out a loser here. Their insurance premiums are going to go up, which means drug prices might go up for consumers. The stolen drugs could be tampered with or stored improperly and resold and end up back in the marketplace and bought by unsuspecting consumers. And of course, the security industry in general is a big loser here... I love this line from a Hartford Courant story: "Police were dispatched to the warehouse Sunday about 1:50 p.m., when the theft was discovered, according to a police report. A state police dog was called in to search for suspects, but none was found." Really? That's because thieves (and especially ones as organized as these ones appear to have been) don't stick around till 1:50 p.m. and wait for you to realize the disc has been stolen from your DVR and that the only thing you can do is dispatch a dog to try and follow the scent trail of the criminals... which in this case ascends through the air and up through the ceiling where the dog can't follow. Maybe that sounds sarcastic. Maybe it is. I don't think this is a case where the powers that be should be congratulated for doing all they can. More should have been done by those charged with protecting the premises and assets beforehand. It does very little good to investigate a loss after the loss occurs. So far there are no suspects and no leads, just a whole bunch of people standing around scratching their heads. The WSJ piece also mentions the previous record holder for a drug heist was a $44 million job carried out when the drugs were in transit. My colleague Leischen has covered this growing trend, as well. The WSJ talks with Bob Furtado of Lojack's Supply Chain Integrity unit. I spoke with Bob last year about their move into more traditional security. Perhaps the message here is that good enough just isn't good enough any more. Perhaps it's time to verify all alarms. Perhaps it's time to stop protecting perimeters and locations and begin protecting individual people and assets. It's the security industry's job to see the need before the curve and before the loss occurs.