Ever since 2010 when burglars waltzed out of an Eli Lilly ($LLY) warehouse in Connecticut with $70 million in drugs, pharma companies have been adding to the fortifications of facilities and the electronic tracking of deliveries.
But it was not as if the Lilly facility was left unlocked with the welcome mat out. It had 13 cameras inside as well as motion detectors and an alarm system. It now appears the thieves had documents that showed them every vulnerability, from where the alarm control room was located to which delivery bay they could safely park their get-away rig in without being seen. The New Jersey Star-Ledger says an insurance company that got hit hard for losses in the theft has made the allegations in a lawsuit filed against ADT Security and its former parent, Tyco Integrated Security.
"Either they were given access to this data, or there was a weak link that allowed ADT to be hacked," Elisa Gilbert, a lawyer for National Union Fire Insurance Co. of Pittsburgh, tells the newspaper. National Union wants to get back about $42 million in damages. "Anyone who got hold of that document would have had a road map to get in."
The lawsuit alleges the criminal gang had the very security assessment that ADT Security had done on the warehouse a month before it was hit. The lawsuit does not say where specifically they may have gotten the documents, but that it and others gave the gang a roadmap for disabling and evading security for a series of attacks on warehouses. ADT points out it broke off last year from Tyco and Tyco would not comment.
State and federal authorities last year arrested 22 suspects they said were tied to pharmaceutical cargo losses worth tens of millions of dollars throughout the country, including the burglary of the Lilly warehouse at Enfield, CT. Authorities even recovered some of the stolen drugs. The Star-Ledger says 16 of those suspects have since pleaded guilty. There had been some other high-visibility cargo thefts before the Lilly break-in, but nothing to match its daring. The thieves hit a vulnerable spot on the roof, rapelled down ropes, disabled security, then used a loader in the warehouse to fill up a tractor-trailer. Authorities finally tracked DNA left on water bottles and a coffee cup at some of the crime scenes to Amed Villa, a Cuban exile living in Miami. He and his brother, Amaury Villa, a one-time alarm installer, were among those arrested.
After the Lilly heist and other break-ins brought a raft of publicity, pharma upped its efforts to deter cargo theft, with organizations like the Pharmaceutical Cargo Security Coalition leading the way. The pharmaceutical industry last year saw 30 reported cargo thefts with an average loss of $168,219, according to the FreightWatch International 2012 US Cargo Theft Report. In 2010 when the Lilly caper occurred, the average loss was $3.7 million per incident.
- read the Star-Ledger story