It was a classic smash and grab.

Stephenville police responded to an alarm around 2 a.m. Tuesday at Tanglewood Pharmacy, located in the 2400 block of the Northwest Loop.

By the time officers arrived on the scene, the burglar had fled with a “large amount” of prescription drugs.  

Lt. Don Miller said the suspect, or suspects, gained entry into the pharmacy by breaking the front window. They got away with an “undisclosed amount” of hydrocodone - an opiate derived painkiller, which the Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) calls “the most frequently dispensed opioid pharmaceuticals” in the nation. 

Ed Horton, who owns and operates the pharmacy, said the criminals caused little damage and that the store was not ransacked.

A fact sheet provided by the DEA shows that from 2000-06 the number of analyzed hydrocodone seizures increased from 4,343 to 25,790. The DEA also reports that the estimated number of prescriptions drastically increased from 88,000,000 in 2000 to 130,000,000 in 2006.

While Miller said Stephenville has not seen the burglary of a pharmacy in “quite some time,” nearby Texas towns have been the targets of similar crimes. In the past month, a Clifton Pharmacy was targeted and sources say similar incidents have also occurred in the Waco and Hamilton areas. A similar crime occurred in Athens when an armed robber entered a pharmacy during business hours in May 2008 and made off with “an undetermined amount” of hydrocodone.

There has been no arrest in the case, which is still under investigation. Anyone with information should contact Stephenville police at 254-918-1200 or Crime Stoppers at 254-965-2274 or leave a tip through the police department Web site at www.stephenvillepolice.org under the Crime Stoppers heading. When calling Crime Stoppers, tipsters may remain anonymous.