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$75 Million Drug Heist Reminds DCs of the Importance of Protecting Valuables

The break-in's boldness grabbed headlines, but in many ways it was a typical DC burglary that could have been avoided.

(Boonton, NJ, April 29, 2010) — In a costly and embarrassing heist that reminds DC managers of the threat of theft and the importance of security, a Connecticut warehouse owned by Eli Lilly was burglarized by thieves who nabbed pills worth $75 million.

It was the biggest cargo caper ever. The thieves cut a hole in the DC's roof, used a rope to lower themselves to the floor, and disabled the alarm system. They loaded a tractor-trailer with Prozac, Cymbalta, Gemzar, Zyprexa, and other brand-name drugs.

The break-in's boldness grabbed headlines, but in many ways it was a typical DC burglary.

The crime happened on a weekend, which is when most warehouse burglaries occur. And even the tactic of entering through the roof, rappelling to the floor, then loading a truck was typical.

"The methodology is something we've seen on so many occasions," says Barry Brandman, president of Danbee Investigations, a security consultant for DCs.

In the May issue of industry newsletter Distribution Center Management, Brandman and two other security experts provide 12 tips for protecting your DC and your inventory.

For example, Brandman reminds DC management to analyze their security measures. Is that fence high enough? Does that dock need a security camera? Do you have motion sensors? What happens to the security system if the power goes out and thieves cut the phone lines?

There's no one-size-fits-all answer, but look for vulnerabilities in your security measures.

Brandman recalls one theft where thieves circumvented a 16-inch-high photo-electric beam on the dock by putting a ladder over the ray of light.

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