Monday, August 20, 2012

Sioux Falls Man Pleads Guilty to Federal Charges Related to December 2011 Lennox Pharmacy Burglary and High-Speed Chase

U.S. Attorney Brendan V. Johnson announced that John Robert Graham, age 25, of Sioux Falls, appeared before Chief U.S. District Judge Karen E. Schreier on August 16, 2012, and pled guilty to counts one and two of the indictment that charged him with burglary involving controlled substances and possession of firearm in relation to a crime of violence. The maximum penalty upon conviction of the burglary count is 25 years in prison, a $250,000 fine, or both. Count two carries a consecutive mandatory minimum of 10 years and a maximum of life in prison.

On December 23, 2011, Graham attempted to burglarize a Lewis Drug Pharmacy in Lennox in an effort to steal controlled substances. Graham broke into a structure that contained multiple businesses and mistakenly entered a neighboring business instead of the Lewis Drug Pharmacy. Local police were alerted when Graham triggered a silent alarm, and the Lennox chief of police arrived to investigate while Graham was still in the building. Upon seeing the police chief arrive, Graham discharged a firearm to break out a window so he could escape. He then ran out of the building, brandishing the firearm in the direction of the pursuing officer. Graham stole a vehicle that was parked nearby, and he led numerous pursuing officers on a high-speed chase that included open fields, Interstate 29, and numerous side streets. Ultimately, the chase ended in Sioux Falls at the intersection of West 12th Street and Petro Avenue, when Graham was stopped after colliding the stolen vehicle with a highway patrol cruiser.

“This man’s hunger for prescription drugs put many lives in danger that morning,” U.S. Attorney Johnson said. “Thankfully, no one was seriously injured. His prosecution has been a true cooperation between many state and federal agencies, and Graham now faces significant punishment for two very serious federal felonies.”

The investigation was conducted by the Lincoln County Sheriff’s Department, Lennox Police Department, Federal Bureau of Investigation, Minnehaha County Sheriff’s Department, Tea Police Department, South Dakota Division of Criminal Investigation, South Dakota Highway Patrol, and the Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension. The case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Kevin Koliner.

A pre-sentence investigation was ordered, and a sentencing date was set for November 5, 2012. The defendant was remanded to the custody of the U.S. Marshals Service pending sentencing.

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