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Federal Authorities Arrest Two Men for Pharmacy Burglaries

Two men are facing charges for conspiring to burglarize Walgreens during the civil unrest that has been plaguing Chicago since the George Floyd murder. William Lorenz, 40, and Ivan Bermudez, 42, are each charged with one count of conspiracy to commit burglary of a controlled substance. The two men were arrested by federal agents, meaning that they will be facing federal charges.

Conspiracy Charges

As you may have noticed, the two men are not facing charges for committing burglary, they are facing charges of conspiring to commit burglary. However, the two men were arrested after illegally entering three Walgreens stores that were closed while looting and vandalism were occurring. The complaint accuses the men of entering the stores for the purpose of removing drugs from the shelves. 

Federal authorities say that the two men entered the pharmacies wearing ski masks and hoodies. Lorenz attempted to open a pharmacy locker that contained opioid-based painkillers. He was unable to gain access. When police arrived, Lorenz was still at the scene and attempted to flee. He was caught about a block away. A search of Lorenz’s vehicle turned up liquid codeine and 150 pills that police believe are hydrocodone. 

Lorenz told police that the drugs were from a friend and that he had not stolen them from Walgreens. It is not immediately clear how the police discovered that the other man was Bermudez. 

In this case, each of the men is facing a maximum of 10 years in prison or a maximum of 20 years in prison given that certain conditions are met. The one thing that is saving both men from staring down the barrel of a 20-year sentence is the fact that nothing was taken in the burglary attempt. Furthermore, no one was injured and the two men apparently did not cross state lines to initiate the burglary. Had they done so, their sentence could have been a maximum of 20 years. 

If they used a weapon in the burglary or assaulted someone, the sentence could be as high as 25 years. If someone was killed during the burglary, they could face life in prison. 

Understanding Federal Charges

Federal charges are filed by the federal government. Instead of local authorities filing the charges, you have the FBI, DHS, ATF, DEA or other federal agencies doing the charging. While some folks like to poke fun at “club fed” because this is where white-collar criminals often end up, at least one of the two men who hoped to rob Walgreens will probably be there, as well. 

The one option a defense attorney would have in a case like this is to claim mistaken identity. You could argue that the police responded to the burglary, but never got a clear line of sight at the defendant. Of course, in this case, the defendant told police that the illegal drugs he had on him had no relation to the robbery he was attempting. 

Talk to a Chicago Criminal Defense Attorney

If you are facing federal charges in the Chicago area, call the Chicago criminal defense attorney David Freidberg today at (312) 560-7100 to learn more about how we can protect you from the worst-case scenario.

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