Pharmacist takes burglary personally

- Sun Pharmacy off Bee Ridge Road in Sarasota is where you will find pharmacist Bob Patel with a smile.
He opened his pharmacy six years ago; it is his life and his patients mean everything to him.

"I don't want to just be pushing the pills. I really want to make a difference in somebody's life," he said.

Tuesday morning just after 4, Patel got a call from the Sarasota County Sheriff's Office.  Someone had busted in his front door.

"When I heard that somebody broke in, it was hard to believe.  When I saw it, I thought, 'Why would somebody do that?'" he continued.

When he got to work, he found someone had stolen 12 boxes full of 288 doses of a highly addictive fentanyl spray.

"I was devastated. I just I could not believe it," Patel continued.

Sarasota County sheriff's deputies turned to surveillance footage.  That is when they found their suspect: A tall man in a hoodie running in and then out with the drugs.

"It is obvious from his direction of travel and his purpose he knew what he was doing," said Sgt. Toby Davis.

The fact that the man didn't take anything else also raised a suspicion.

"When the pharmacist went there, he immediately knew," said Sgt. Davis.

Patel identified the man as Matthew Critchfield and said a relative of Critchfield's is the only patient of his using the medication.

"My heart goes for them and they have been my patient for more than three or four years. I never doubt or suspected this would be anything they would do," said Patel.

Deputies said Critchfield eventually admitted to stealing the drugs and told them he was using them for himself.

"The addiction to the pain medication is particularly damaging to our community and this particular individual," said Sgt. Davis.

Critchfield was charged with burglary of a structure with a controlled substance, theft of fentanyl and possession of fentanyl.

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