PHILADELPHIA, PA — United States Attorney Jennifer Arbittier Williams announced that Robert Hopkins, 26, and William Limper, 43, both of Philadelphia, PA, were recently sentenced to eight years and one month in prison, and 16 years and four months in prison, respectively, by United States District Court Judge Wendy Beetlestone for their roles in a conspiracy to burglarize or attempt to burglarize 49 pharmacies in the City of Philadelphia and the surrounding suburbs during a five year period. Hopkins was sentenced to a period of three years supervised release and Limper to five years supervised release following their terms of imprisonment.
In March 2021, Hopkins pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit pharmacy burglary; conspiracy to possess with the intent to distribute controlled substances; pharmacy burglary; attempted pharmacy burglary; and attempt to possess pharmaceutical controlled substances with the intent to distribute. In June 2021, Limper pleaded guilty to multiple counts of pharmacy burglary and attempted pharmacy burglary; possession with intent to distribute controlled substances; possession of a firearm in furtherance of a drug trafficking crime; and related conspiracy, drug and gun offenses.
Limper, Hopkins, and two co-conspirators who were also indicted for their involvement in this conspiracy, Raul Rivera and Michael Dombrowski, also of Philadelphia, PA, burglarized pharmacies in order to steal controlled substances – primarily Schedule II opiates such as oxycodone and Percocet tablets – for the purpose of distributing them to others for profit from about November 2014 until April 2019. The defendants forced entry into the pharmacies at nighttime with burglary tools such as crowbars and Halligan bars (specialized forcible entry tools used by law enforcement and firefighters) when the pharmacies were closed. The defendants concealed their identities with clothing and masks over their faces, and they used scanners to monitor police activity and two-way radios to communicate with each other during the burglaries.
The conspirators thoroughly planned and executed these burglaries with great precision. For example, in order to facilitate quick getaways in the event that they were detected by witnesses or law enforcement, the defendants used stolen Jeep Grand Cherokee SRT sport utility vehicles (SUV) with powerful engines. When they were not using the stolen vehicles to perpetrate burglaries, the defendants concealed the vehicles in garages in a commercial storage lot, where they also hid their tools and the clothing they wore during the burglaries to avoid detection by law enforcement. After each of the burglaries, the defendants divided the stolen narcotics among themselves for the purpose of selling them to others.
Dombrowski and Rivera also pleaded guilty to similar charges and are awaiting sentencing in December 2021 and March 2022, respectively.
“Limper, Hopkins and their co-conspirators were able to carry out their years-long burglary spree using careful, calculated tactics,” said U.S. Attorney Williams. “They terrorized communities and small businesses across the Philadelphia region, all while compounding the impact of the opioid epidemic for their own benefit. I want to thank the large group of law enforcement partners who worked together in a highly coordinated effort using targeted investigative techniques to bring these defendants to justice.”
“Limper, Hopkins, and crew were a crime wave unto themselves,” said Jacqueline Maguire, Special Agent in Charge of the FBI’s Philadelphia Division. “We’re talking about a long-term criminal operation involving many dozens of pharmacy burglaries, with the stolen pills then sold out on the street amid this area’s raging opioid crisis. The FBI’s Violent Crimes Task Force worked with our law enforcement partners in and outside of the city to make the case that led to [the] sentencings, and we’re all gratified to see such prolific criminals held accountable.”
The case was investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the Philadelphia Police Department, the Bristol Township Police Department, the Upper Southampton Police Department, the Chester Police Department, the Lower Merion Police Department, the Upper Chichester Township Police Department, the Upland Borough Police Department, the Folcroft Police Department, the Sharon Hill Police Department, the Central Bucks Regional Police Department, the Hatboro Police Department, the Upper Darby Police Department, the Haverford Township Police Department, the Ridley Township Police Department, the Bristol Borough Police Department, the Lower Southampton Township Police Department, the Falls Township Police Department, the Springfield Township Police Department, the Marple Township Police Department, and the Warrington Township Police Department, and is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Thomas M. Zaleski.
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