MCSO: Pharmacy bandit is charged following a month-long investigation.

MCSO: Pharmacy bandit is charged following a month-long investigation.
Mugshot: Thomas O'Brien (Source: MCSO)

BRADENTON, Fla. (WWSB) - A 47 year-old Bradenton man is behind bars after admitting to stealing prescription medication and other items from six pharmacies in Manatee County. He also admitted to pharmacy burglaries in Bradenton Police jurisdiction and Palmetto Police jurisdiction.

At around 12:30 a.m. on Nov. 26, 2020 (Thanksgiving Day), deputies responded to the Winn Dixie on 53rd Avenue East in Bradenton after the night manager heard a suspicious noise, according to the Manatee County Sheriff’s Office.

MCSO says after deputies checked the store, they were able to determine a burglary had just occurred in the store’s pharmacy. Law enforcement says security cameras captured a suspect walking around the store before heading to the front. Once at the front of the store he filled a large trash bag with multiple cartons of cigarettes and then made his way to the pharmacy where he used a hammer and pry tool to breach the pharmacy door.

MCSO says once he entered the pharmacy, he casually filled the remainder of the large trash back with various medications and exited through an emergency door. It was learned that the suspect entered the store around 9:30 p.m. while the store was open on Nov. 25, 2020 and hid in a cooler until there were no longer any employees around.

After gathering leads, detectives developed Thomas O’Brien as a suspect and discovered that he was staying at the Magnusson Hotel on US 41 in Bradenton. On Dec. 19, 2020, Thomas and another suspect identified as Robby Alvarino were seen casing and then attempting to burglarize Advance Care Pharmacy in Ellenton.

Both suspects were later arrested and charged with Attempted Burglary for that case.

Detectives obtained evidence from the hotel room and vehicle used by O’Brien to include clothes matching those worn by the suspect, a cell phone tied to the Winn-Dixie burglary, tools and numerous prescription narcotics from other burglaries.

Thomas O’Brien is charged with 4 additional counts of Burglary and one attempted burglary. Robby Alvarino remains a suspect in those additional cases. He could face more charges as the investigation continues.

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