A pharmacist is accused of stealing 20,000 pills of give different controlled substances over a period of more than a year.
Jeffrey Grothaus, 49, of Maple Grove, was charged with four counts of theft by swindle on Monday, with the criminal complaint saying he carried out the thefts while working at two Park Nicollet pharmacies in the west metro.
The first was the Carlson Pharmacy at 15111 Twelve Oaks Center Drive in Minnetonka, the other was Wayzata Pharmacy at 250 North Central.
Of the five drugs he's alleged to have stolen, the most common were the sedative Zolpidem – sold commonly as Ambien – and the synthetic opioid Tramadol.
Grothaus told police he took the drugs to feed his own addiction, but Hennepin County Attorney said in a press release: "We cannot have these powerful drugs leaking out into the community."
"The opioid crisis has opened everyone’s eyes to the abuse of prescription medications," Freeman added, noting that he is among multiple county attorneys pursuing a lawsuit against drug companies for flooding the market with highly-addictive opioids.
Grothaus is alleged to have made inventory adjustments within the pharmacy's management system, ordering in certain drugs and adding them to the inventory, only to make a "negative adjustment" to the inventory later that same day.
Video footage at one time showed Grothaus at times putting what appeared to be medication in his pocket as he accept an inventory order, which he was later observed to place in his locker.