A Rockland man who was convicted for breaking into a local elementary school in 2016 was arrested over the weekend for allegedly breaking into the same school last month and stealing student medications.
Brian Burch, 26, was arrested early Saturday morning in Thomaston after crashing a car he allegedly stole. Burch was charged with operating under the influence in addition to the charges of burglary, criminal mischief and theft of drugs stemming from the elementary school break-in.
Early on the morning of April 20, after being kicked out of a local bar, Burch allegedly broke into the South School, an elementary school located in Rockland. Police say Burch entered the school through an unlocked window and then broke indoor windows throughout the school to enter locked rooms, according to court documents.
Student medications were stolen from the nurse’s office, though none of the stolen medications were controlled substances, according to an affidavit filed by Rockland police Detective Alex Gaylor. Those types of medications are kept in a locked box in the nurse’s office that went untouched during the break-in.
Police believe that Burch was still on school grounds when police responded to an alarm that went off when a school door opened. A flashlight that was still on, a staple gun along with bags of medications were found strewn inside and outside the school, as well as in the surrounding neighborhood, according to the affidavit.
Investigators also found gloves and a jacket submerged in potholes filled with water on a nearby street.
Gaylor said police suspected Burch early in the investigation because the break-in was similar to one he committed at the same school in 2016. No medications were stolen during that break-in, though some door knobs were broken and a fire extinguisher was taken.
A witness who was with Burch on the night of April 19 told police that Burch had said “he was going to go break into the school to get stuff so he did not detox,” according to the affidavit.
Burch was released from prison on the previous burglary conviction in late 2018. While he was in prison, he reportedly told other inmates “that when released he would break into the schools again,” Gaylor wrote.
After checking with the school nurse, police determined that all of the medications that were stolen were found at or near the school.
Burch is being held at the Knox County Jail on $10,000 cash bail.