Methodical Police Work Leads to Capture of Drug Store Cowboys | New Times Broward-Palm Beach


Methodical Police Work Leads to Capture of Drug Store Cowboys

This was a straightforward criminal plot: The bad guys wanted drugs. A pain clinic wall blocked their access to said drugs. So they destroyed that wall. (1) Smash; (2) Grab. Almost elegant in its simplicity. And the score was huge: some 56,000 pills of hydrocodone, oxycodone, and other prescription-strength painkillers. A lot better than having to drive to Broward County, then wait in a long line to pay a crooked doctor for those pills.

But the thieves were fairly sophisticated in covering their tracks -- having managed to evade capture from the time the break-in occurred on May 9, 2009. The surveillance camera recorded footage of the pickup truck that smashed a hole in the wall of the North Palm Pain Management Clinic, but it  wasn't clear enough to provide a break in the case. The thief who climbed out of the truck to scoop up the drugs wore a hood, mask, and bandanna. And even after police were contacted by the feds who had an informant with knowledge of the case, still one of the lead suspects refused to acknowledge his role in the burglary during a phone conversation with that informant.

So in mid-January, detectives with the Palm Beach Sheriff's Office wired their informant, then sent him out for a more detailed, in-person discussion of the caper. This cagey target was Joseph Serkosky, and this time he not only admitted his role in that burglary but he implicated his girlfriend, Kristle Jordan, according to a PBSO release. On January 15, detectives arrested the couple, who confessed their roles in the burglary.

The informant had previously given detectives the name of Justin Navarro, and they found enough evidence in his trash to charge him with burglary and grand theft. He was arrested January 12.

But there were even more thieves in this plot. On January 20, PBSO arrested Jared Kessler as he was leaving Palm Beach County, based on his alleged role as a lookout for the thieves. And last Thursday, detectives made their most recent arrest: Daniel Elola.

According to the PBSO narrative, Serkosky had convinced Elola to use Elola's pickup truck to smash the wall. Then as Serkosky gathered the drugs from an open safe, Kessler and Navarro were watching the scene from across the street, ready to alert their buddies in the event that they were interrupted.

It was already too late to recover any of the 56,000 pills, but detectives say that by arresting members of this gang, it ruined plans for future heists.