CHICAGO (CBS) — Two men face federal charges after prosecutors say they broke into three pharmacies in Chicago in late May, during widespread looting and civil unrest following the killing of George Floyd by police in Minneapolis.
Another man and a woman also face state charges in two separate looting incidents in the downtown area earlier this month.
William Lorenz, 40, and Ivan Bermudez, 42, both have been charged with conspiracy to commit burglary involving a controlled substance.
Federal prosecutors said the pair broke into three closed Walgreens stores in Humboldt Park, Logan Square, and Old Irving Park on May 31, and tried to remove prescription drugs from the shelves in the pharmacy areas.
According to the charges, around 9:30 p.m. on May 31, during a citywide curfew, Chicago Police responded to a call of looting at the Walgreens at 4001 W. Irving Park Rd., and saw the front window had been broken.
Police saw multiple people fleeing the Walgreens through the back door, and after a brief foot chase, police arrested Lorenz about a block away, and walked him back to the parking lot. Following a search, police found Lorenz was carrying a black ski mask and a set of keys to a Honda.
Officers then located Lorenz’s car in the parking lot, and when they searched the vehicle, they found 536.4 grams of liquid codeine; two glass jars containing tablets; and several plastic bottles containing liquid, capsules, and tablets, including Hydrocodone.
Prosecutors said Lorenz claimed the drugs were not from the Walgreens, but belonged to his friend, Bermudez. Lorenz gave police Bermudez’s address, and DEA agents later obtained surveillance video from two other Walgreens stores, showing Lorenz and Bermudez removing drugs from the shelves earlier the same night.
“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.”
Lorenz made his initial court appearance on Tuesday, and was released on $4,500 bond.
Bermudez is scheduled to make his initial court appearance Wednesday afternoon in federal court.
Meantime, 19-year-old Makhaila Young has been charged with one felony count each of theft, possession of a firearm with a defaced serial number, and aggravated unlawful use of a weapon. Chicago police said she was arrested Tuesday in connection with a looting incident on Aug. 10 in Streeterville.
Police did not provide details on the looting incident, but said, at the time of her arrest, Young was carrying a semi-automatic pistol with a defaced serial number.
The final looting suspect charged Wednesday was 20-year-old Shawn Davis, who faces one felony count each of theft, burglary, and looting.
Police said Davis was arrested Tuesday in the north Center neighborhood, after he was found trying to sell merchandise stolen in a looting incident downtown on Aug. 10. Police did not provide details on that looting incident.
Davis and Young both are scheduled to appear for bond hearings Wednesday afternoon in Cook County Circuit Court.