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Thief Caught Dragging Stolen Safe Behind Car

SWANSBORO, N.C. -- A Swansboro man accused of breaking into a local pharmacy was caught dragging the alleged evidence of his crime.

Ryan James Mullins, 22, of Norris Road in Swansboro was arrested Tuesday by Swansboro Police Department following an early morning break-in at Family Care Pharmacy at 1106 Main St. Extension, police said.

He is scheduled for a first appearance in court today on multiple charges, including safecracking, breaking and entering, larceny after breaking and entering, possession of stolen goods and trafficking of opium or heroin, according to information from the Onslow County Clerk of Court office.

Mullins was caught after officers responding to an alarm call say they found him driving down Swansboro Loop Road with a safe from the pharmacy in tow.

"He was driving down the road pulling the safe behind him," Swansboro Public Safety Chief Bob Ritchie said.

Ritchie estimated the safe to be about 8 feet tall and 2 feet deep and said it was used for holding medications.

"We believe the purpose behind the break-in was to get controlled substances," he said.

Police responded to two alarm calls at the pharmacy beginning about 6 a.m. Tuesday.

After the first, officers found no sign of an intruder or entrance to the building. Ritchie said they believe Mullins set off the alarm and ran off into the woods.

After the second alarm, the window at the drive-through of the pharmacy was found broken.

Police said Mullins apparently entered the building through the window and then used the back door to bring in a dolly or something to carry the safe out of the building and tie it to his vehicle.

The pharmacy had not opened for the day and no one was inside at the time of the break-in.

Owner and pharmacist Robert "Eddie" Fuller said there was clean up to be done and repairs to be made from where Mullins broke in and pulled the safe out of the wall; but they were able to open for day, just a little later than normal.

"Fortunately, there was no harm done as far as people go," he said.

In addition to the charges related to the break-in, Mullins also faces charges of driving while impaired and possession of a schedule IV controlled substance and several traffic offenses.

Bond is set at $20,000 for breaking and entering, larceny after breaking and entering and possession of stolen goods, and $210,000 for safecracking and two counts of tracking opium or heroin.

Copyright 2014 - The Daily News, Jacksonville, N.C.

McClatchy-Tribune News Service

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