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Pharmacy Break-in, Platte

For those who’ve never suffered the curse of addiction, it’s hard to imagine the lengths addicts will go to get their drugs. The cravings, coupled with no ready supply, a lack of money, and an unwillingness to get the help needed combine to make a desparate human being, capable of the most outrageous acts. For those familiar with the disease, the break-in in Platte last week just goes along with the condition as an addict slides down the slope.

Hoffman’s Pharmacy is on Main Street in Platte, across for Lieuwin’s Ace Hardware. It’s a well lighted area and the area is well traveled. But none of this matters for someone desperate enough. Last week, 21-year-old Kristopher Keegel was arrested for breaking in to the pharmacy by smashing the front door glass and going, not for money or merchandise, but the drugs behind the counter.

Keegel is charged with burglary and possession of a controlled substance. The controlled substance in question showed up in a blood test, so the possession charge is for “possessing” the drugs in his body. The drugs reported taken (by the Daily Republic) were hydrocodone and tramadol. The first is a popular narcotic, but the second, tramadol isn’t a controlled substance, although it is a prescription pain reliever.

According to reports, Keegel took 12 bottles of hydrocodone and one bottle of tramadol. The empty containers were found in his possession although it is almost impossible for him to have ingested that quantity of drugs in the three days between the burglary and his arrest. The charges have a maximum penalty of 25 years in prison total, along with up to $50,000 in fines.

These types of “smash and grab” crimes to obtain drugs are still relatively rare in South Dakota. We tend to think of them as big city crimes or something that only happens in urban wastelands. But addiction doesn’t discriminate and while our state may not have the impressive numbers, we certainly do have a drug problem.

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