Police are still looking for suspects involved in an October break-in and theft at the free clinic run by St. Peter’s Episcopal Church in downtown Hillsdale.
The suspects stole around $5,000 worth of non-narcotic medications, according to Hillsdale Police Detective Brad Martin. Additionally, the intruder left refrigerators open, causing $17,000 worth of insulin to spoil.
According to the clinic’s Executive Director, Jaimie Bauerly, the suspects took nearly everything from the pharmacy. The medication shelves were entirely emptied, with the exception of three boxes of pills. Needles and some creams were also left untouched. Other missing items include cash and checks from Bauerly’s desk, the candy tray, and trash cans, which are believed to have been used to hold the stolen medications.
St. Peter’s Free Clinic was not the only local institution burglarized in early October.
“There were other break-ins that same night in areas outside the city,” Martin said.
This is the first break-in at the clinic since it opened on Sept. 10, 2002.
The clinic opens on Tuesday nights at 5 p.m., and its mission is to provide health care and prescription medications to uninsured members of the community.
A rotation of eight medical providers, including nurse practitioners, physician assistants, and a doctor, typically see up to 11 patients each week.
Martin said the suspect may have entered through a window.
The senior warden of the church locked the clinic at 6 p.m. on Oct. 9, according to Bauerly. When she returned the next morning in preparation for the church’s first in-person service since the start of the pandemic, she found an open window and broken screen.
Bauerly speculates that the criminal used a butter knife from the kitchen to get into the locked pharmacy once within the clinic.
“There are evidentiary processes that are in place, and we are waiting to get reports back,” Martin said.
The pharmacy does not carry narcotics, so the motive of the criminal is still in question.
“One of the pharmacists thinks that the criminal sold it to an underground pharmacy,” Bauerly said.
Martin said he is working with local authorities to investigate possible connections between the crimes.
The clinic has since replaced the lost supplies and had enough money saved to order new medications immediately following the break-in, even though it runs entirely on donations and grants, Bauerly said.
Its annual fundraiser, the Taste of Autumn, a food and wine tasting event, was canceled due to COVID-19. Despite this setback, donors and local businesses have continued to send checks.
“The clinic has had huge support from this community ever since it opened,” Bauerly said.