PHARMACY THEFT LEADS TO PRISON SENTENCE
New Bern, North Carolina — District Attorney Scott Thomas announced that, in Craven County Superior Court today, ERIC MICHAEL FARNHAM, 36, of New Bern, pled guilty to a series of charges arising out of his breaking into a pharmacy in New Bern, and was sentenced to prison. Superior Court Judge R. Kent Harrell presided, and the cases were prosecuted in court by Assistant District Attorney Robert J. McAfee.
On April 2, 2017, River Bend Police Chief Ryland Matthews stopped a Ford pickup truck just before midnight, because he saw that the driver was not wearing a seatbelt, and was trying to put on a seatbelt while driving. Farnham was the driver, and in a conversation with Chief Matthews, denied having any contraband in the vehicle. The Chief noticed that Farnham had, among other things, a crowbar and hammer in the vehicle. While waiting for a K-9 officer to respond, Farnham told Matthews that he had several syringes underneath the driver’s seat. A subsequent search of the vehicle located a crack pipe, syringes, more than 20 grams of opiate painkillers, and several rocks of crack cocaine. Farnham was taken to the hospital because he had ingested some of the opiate pills; however, he fled the hospital and disappeared.
At the same time, a pharmacy in New Bern was reporting a break-in and theft from its inventory, discovered earlier in the evening. Surveillance video showed a lone suspect, wielding either a crowbar or hammer, breaking a hole in the front door, crawling through, then stealing bottles of pills from the pharmacy shelves.
Five days later, New Bern Police received a tip that Farnham was at a local hotel, and they tracked him to a second-story room. When they tried to enter, Farnham jumped out of the window and tried to flee. Several officers gave chase and ultimately tackled Farnham to take him into custody. A search of the hotel room located more than 730 pills, mostly oxycodone and oxymorphone, as well as more crack cocaine.
Police determined that Farnham was also responsible for three other pharmacy break-ins during the previous year, tying him to those crimes through surveillance video, the use of the tools, and the theft of oxycodone, among other pieces of evidence.
Farnham pled guilty to: Attempted Trafficking in Opium; Possession with Intent to Sell or Deliver Cocaine; Possession of Cocaine; Maintaining a Vehicle for Controlled Substances; four counts of Felony Breaking & Entering; and Felony Larceny. Judge Harrell sentenced Farnham to a consolidated sentence of 72 to 99 months in prison. He also ordered a judgement against Farnham for more than $ 11,000 in losses to the pharmacy, as well as court costs and attorney’s fees. When Farnham is released from prison, he will be subject to a period of post-release supervision, during which he will be subject to warrantless searches and random drug screens.
The cases were investigated by the River Bend Police Department and the New Bern Police Department, assisted by the North Carolina State Crime Lab.