UPDATE: Duo charged in series of vet clinic burglaries - WRCBtv.com | Chattanooga News, Weather & Sports

UPDATE: Duo charged in series of vet clinic burglaries

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Calhoun, GA -

UPDATE: Calhoun Police have charged two suspects in connection with the burglary of a Calhoun veterinarian office.

Officers responded to Calhoun Pet Care on 202 Williams Street on September 8th.

Officers were told when they arrived on scene that someone had entered the location overnight, and had taken several items with a small amount of cash.

Detectives said they worked with several police agencies in North Georgia, Tennessee, and Kentucky were investigating similar break-inn at animal clinics. 

With the help of these agencies Calhoun Detectives were able to identify and charge, Jason B. Leffew, 44, and Timothy G. Ross, 42, both of Knoxville. 

Lt. Tony Pyle, said "“Between April 1st and September 8th 2015, thirty eight (38) animal clinics in three (3) states were burglarized by Leffew and Ross. At this time, both suspects remain in the Knox County Jail, and will be extradited back to Gordon County in the near future”. 


KNOXVILLE (WBIR) - A Knoxville man is accused of stealing from dozens of veterinary clinics in three states.

Some 36 veterinary offices and clinics in Tennessee, Kentucky, and Georgia have been burglarized.

The Tennessee clinics hit were in Chattanooga, Cleveland, Kingsport, Maryville, Morristown, Harriman, Sweetwater, Knoxville, Jonesborough, and Seymour. In all, approximately $700,000 worth of pet medications was stolen in the burglaries.

In the Chattanooga area, the following clinics were hit:

  • Lee Parkway Vet Clinic in Chattanooga
  • Mountain Stone Vet Clinic in Cleveland
  • Cleveland Animal Hospital in Cleveland
  • National Spay Alliance in Dalton
  • VCA Catoosa in Ringgold
  • Calhoun Pet Care in Calhoun 

The Knoxville Vet Medical Association offered a $10,000 reward for information leading to the arrests of those responsible.

After a two-month joint investigation by the sheriff's departments of Knox and Blount counties, Timothy Gayton Ross, 42, was arrested early Saturday after authorities say he burglarized the Clinton Highway Veterinary Clinic. He had been identified as a suspect and was under surveillance. When he was arrested, he had $24,000 worth of pet medicines in his car.

Ross targeted the Clinton Highway Veterinary Clinic two separate times. The second time, the clinic was aware of the investigation and cooperated with KCSO to crack the case.

“He said we had to allow access because otherwise there was no burglary until they caught them in the act,” Dr. Angela Snow said.

Snow said Ross almost exclusively stole flea and tick medications.

Stolen veterinary medicines recovered after a burglary suspect was arrested (Photo: KCSO)

Authorities believe Ross is connected to five burglaries in Knox County: Hardin Valley Animal Clinic, Butler Animal Clinic, Hardin Valley Animal Hospital, Tazewell Pike Animal Hospital, and the Clinton Highway Veterinary Clinic. He has an extensive criminal history of burglary in Knox County.

"We believe he’s probably involved in some in the city," KCSO spokeswoman Martha Dooley said. "We believe he is part of a most of these – if not the majority of them.”

Charges are pending against another suspect who is in custody on other charges.

The District Attorney General's Office is expected to take the case to a grand jury.


UPDATE: Two veterinary clinics were robbed in Cleveland this week and we're learning it isn't just happening in our area.

Police say there have been almost a dozen break-ins this summer from Chattanooga all the way to Johnson City.
   
In each case, the robbers have targeted the same item.

Vets at both Cleveland clinics say whoever robbed the place knew exactly what they were looking for, stealing all of their flea, tick and heartworm medications.

One box of heartworm medication costs $120.

"If you get on and Google any of the online pharmacies these are the first products that come up and they see how much they can get for these things," said Dr. Tracey Giglio, Mountainstone Veterinary Hospital.

The Mountainstone Veterinary Hospital was robbed of more than $100,000 worth of medication Wednesday night.

One of several vet clinics in the state that has recently been burglarized, but a first for Cleveland.

"We haven't experienced this before," said Evie West, Cleveland Police Department.

Cleveland Police are investigating whether all of the break-ins are related and how many people could be involved.

"It sounds like these are being targeted, flea, tick, liver and kidney medicines are being stolen," West said, "The narcotics are being left."

Just a few miles away another Cleveland vet clinic was robbed on the same night.

At the Cleveland Animal Hospital thieves cut the phone lines, disabled the alarm system  and took more than $8,000 worth of the same type of medication.

Dr. Richard Thompson handed his surveillance video over to police but doesn't believe the robbers went far enough into his clinic to be caught on camera.

"It wouldn't surprise me if they did all this in 60 seconds or something," Dr. Thompson said.

Many of these medications require a prescription, so even if they're available online for less money...

"They could have some fatal consequences," said Thompson.

These doctors say to stay away.

"We have had clients come in and it says it's for a 5-10 lb dog, we open it up and it's the large size for an 89 - 132 pound dog," said Dr. Giglio.

If someone sees this type of medication being sold online or at a flea market, there are a few ways to figure out where it first came from.

Some of the companies started putting serial numbers on their boxes to be tracked back to the original vet clinic where it was sold.

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ORIGINAL STORY: A Cleveland animal clinic was broken into Wednesday night and robbed of a large quantity of flea and heartworm medication.

Employees of Mountainstone Veterinary Hospital arrived to work this morning to find the building on Stuart Road burglarized.

More than $100,000 in flea and heartworm medication was taken. 

An employee tells Channel 3 they are working with the Cleveland Police Department, which is investigating the case.

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