Lawsuit Contends Thieves in $80 Million Eli Lilly Heist Aided By Warehouse Schematics
Lawsuit Contends Thieves in $80 Million Eli Lilly Heist Aided By Warehouse Schematics [The Hartford Courant]
From Hartford Courant (CT) (March 20, 2013)
March 20--When thieves cut their way into an Enfield warehouse in 2010 and carried out -- unnoticed -- the biggest pharmaceutical theft in U.S. history, they might have been armed with schematics of the warehouse security system.
A new lawsuit says they were.
Warehouse owner Eli Lilly and Co. and its insurer claim in the suit in U.S. District Court in Hartford that security contractor ADT allowed details of the system it monitored for Lilly, as well as those at three other business clients elsewhere in the country, to fall into the hands of warehouse thieves.
Lilly said the burglary cost it $80 million in inventory. Its insurer, National Union Fire Insurance, said in the suit that it has paid Lilly more than $42 million for damage to property, inventory and for other expenses associated with the burglary.
Three other businesses with warehouses guarded by ADT in Florida, Texas and Illinois have been hit by burglars with apparent knowledge of security systems and lost millions more in inventory, the suit says.
Lilly and National Union assert in the suit that ADT regularly reviewed client security systems under its marketing program and generated richly detailed reports on deficiencies. The suit claims ADT stored those confidential reports at what it refers to as a "storage mechanism in Florida."
The suit implies that the thieves obtained the report on Lilly’s Enfield system, but does not say how. But it asserts that the thieves "utilized unique and confidential knowledge of the security system and the components of that system ... to effectively infiltrate the warehouse without triggering the security monitoring system."
Florida-based ADT declined to discuss the suit and a spokeswoman said the company is no longer involved in corporate security following a reorganization in 2012. New Jersey-based Tyco Integrated Security, which handles corporate security following the reorganization, was also named in the suit and declined comment.
The Lilly burglary could have been a screenplay. Employees left work on March 11, 2010, a Friday. When they returned the following Monday, they found a hole in the roof and a sophisticated security system that had been turned off. It later was learned that for five hours over Saturday and Sunday, the thieves used Lilly’s own forklift to load 49 pallets of pharmaceuticals onto a rented tractor-trailer.
Among other things, according to the suit, investigators learned that on the night the thieves arrived, they parked their tractor-trailer at the only one of the seven warehouse loading bays that was outside the view of security cameras.
The burglars climbed onto the roof of the 70,000-square-foot building to a tiny, 4-square-foot spot located precisely above the building’s control room. The thieves cut through the roof in an area that amounted to less than 1 percent of the roof area. The suit claims that ADT, in a security review, had concluded that the Lily control room was inadequately monitored and in need of two additional cameras.
Once the thieves had lowered themselves into the warehouse, the suit says, they disabled the entire security system by "disconnecting the system from its communications devices and destroying the cell phone lines that provided system redundancy."
The security system operated properly at the time of the burglary. The problem, according to the suit, was that the security network was "actively bypassed by parties with detailed technical knowledge of the system."
The FBI says the thieves made an error that led to their capture two years later, in 2012. One of them touched a plastic water bottle while in the warehouse and left a fingerprint. The FBI tracked the thieves to the Miami area, where agents caught one of them negotiating for the sale of some of the Lilly pharmaceuticals overseas.
The transaction the FBI interrupted involved the sale of $1.4 million in drugs for $150,000.
The FBI charged two Miami brothers, Amed and Amaury Villas, with the Enfield burglary. Amed Villas also faces charges in the Illinois warehouse robbery and Amaury was charged in Florida with possession of the stolen Enfield drugs.
Both man are awaiting trial in Connecticut on charges associated with the Enfield theft. Amed Villa’s lawyer, Jonathan Einhorn of New Haven, said Villa denies having access to details of the warehouse security.
The suit claims that the brothers "utilized unique and confidential knowledge of the security system and the components of that system" at Enfield to "effectively infiltrate the warehouse without triggering the security monitoring system."
The FBI and U.S. attorney’s office declined to discuss the lawsuit.
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Posted: March 2013