Police explore whether 4 burglary suspects are linked to Newport pharmacy break-ins

Surveillance footage from Hill Pharmacy on Avocado Avenue in Newport Beach shows two masked burglars taking money from a cash box. The business was one of three pharmacies burglarized in Newport Beach on March 10.
(Courtesy Newport Beach Police Department)

Police are investigating whether four burglary suspects arrested Wednesday morning are responsible for a string of recent break-ins at pharmacies across Orange County, including three in Newport Beach.

At 3:23 a.m. Wednesday, Tustin police responded to an alarm at 13151 Jamboree Road and found that the front door of a Rite-Aid there had been busted open, Tustin police Sgt. Andy Birozy said.

Officers discovered that when the burglars took cash from the store, they inadvertently took a GPS security device with them, Birozy said.

Police tracked the device to a gas station near the 5 Freeway and Oso Parkway in south Orange County, where they detained four men who were there in two cars, Birozy said.

According to police, officers found cash taken from the Rite-Aid in at least one of the cars.

Birozy said investigators are interviewing the suspects, whom he declined to identify, and have reached out to other police agencies that have been looking into similar break-ins.

Three pharmacies in Newport Beach were burglarized in the early morning of March 10, according to police.

Surveillance footage from Hill Pharmacy at 1441 Avocado Ave. showed two people wearing masks breaking glass before stealing prescription drugs along with cash from a register.

The same night, less than 2 miles away, burglars pried into and took cash from ATMs at Rite-Aids at 3141 E. Coast Hwy. and 1610 San Miguel Drive, according to Newport Beach police.

A spokeswoman for the Police Department said detectives were looking into the possibility that the burglaries were coordinated or carried out in succession by one group.

Within the past week, burglars also broke into Rite-Aid stores in Fountain Valley, Dana Point and Westminster, according to the Orange County Register.