NEW MADRID - Three men are in custody in connection with a series of burglaries at pharmacies in Missouri and Tennessee.
Following an early morning pursuit Sunday, New Madrid city police officers took Keith Warren, Marion Warren and Billy Biggs, all from Memphis, Tenn., into custody. The men are charged in New Madrid County Associate Circuit Court with second degree burglary and theft/stealing of any controlled substance with bond set at $100,000 each.
According to Assistant Chief of Police Joey Higgerson, at 3 a.m. Sunday, a New Madrid resident heard the front-door glass breaking at Davis Pharmacy, 415 Mott St., and called police.
The pharmacy was broken into in March of last year and since that time police officers, particularly those working the midnight shift, were keeping a close watch on the business, Higgerson said. He explained in addition to the earlier burglary at the local pharmacy, several pharmacies were burglarized during the past year including ones at Senath, Caruthersville, Covington, Tenn., and Brownsville, Tenn.
"We kind of thought they would circle back so our guys were watching the pharmacy," said Higgerson.
Because the officers were close by they were able to respond quickly and observed a vehicle matching the description traveling along Main Street. The officer noted that as in the previous burglaries, the car's license plate was covered.
The fleeing car failed to yield to the pursuing officer. The pursuit went from New Madrid, to Portageville to Wardell, then returned to the Interstate 55 finally coming to an end at Marston.
Higgerson said as the trio fled, officers observed bags of medication being tossed from the vehicle's window. Also an ax was thrown out along the Interstate and later retrieved and identified as the same one seen in surveillance videos at the pharmacy break-ins.
The New Madrid Police were assisted by New Madrid County Sheriff's Department in capturing the men, Higgerson said.
"The Missouri Highway Patrol's Drug and Crime Control has been working along with us for months now and they came out immediately to do evidence processing," he added.
According to Higgerson, the men may face additional charges in connection with the pursuit. Also charges were filed against the three in Pemiscot County.
Praising the officers for their efforts in the case, Higgerson added: "It was very good job by the officers working midnights. They were being very vigilant and that it why it turned out so good. They were expecting the problem and were ready to react."