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Article updated: 2/19/2013 6:38 PM

Bartlett man accused of stealing Walgreens computer systems

By Lee Filas

A Bartlett man is charged with stealing at least $100,000 in computer equipment from Walgreen Co., including taking hardware that operates the phone systems at 75 Walgreens stores in the Chicago area, Lincolnshire police said Tuesday.

Richard L. Pickard, 46, of the 500 block of Versailles Lane, has also been charged with felony counts of aggravated computer tampering and computer fraud after his Feb. 14 arrest, police investigator John-Erik Anderson said.

Pickard, who police said is a computer subcontractor at Walgreen and not an employee, did not return phone calls Tuesday regarding the charges.

Anderson said Walgreen investigators contacted police claiming a large amount of expensive computer equipment had been stolen from their corporate headquarters at 2 Overlook Point in Lincolnshire before Valentine's Day.

The corporate investigators told police that a computer server designed to run the phone system for 75 Chicago-area locations had been unplugged and removed from the building, Anderson said.

He did not know which stores -- if any -- were immediately affected by the theft.

Officials at Walgreen Co. did not comment immediately Tuesday.

A Walgreen Co. internal investigation determined Pickard was the only person with access to the room where the system was housed, Anderson said. Police investigators went to Pickard's Bartlett home where he admitted to the crime, he said.

"We also obtained consent to search the premises and located other computer items that had been taken from Walgreens," Anderson said. "However, the phone system in question had not been found. We discovered later that particular system had already been sold."

During the search of Pickard's home, Anderson said, a second computer server featuring equipment that had been taken from Walgreen Co. was also discovered and confiscated.

Police also confiscated $24,000 in cash that had been found in a desk drawer inside the home, Anderson said.

"Pickard doesn't work for Walgreens, but was working for a subcontractor that held a contract with Walgreens," Anderson said. "So, we are continuing to investigate whether computer parts from Walgreens are being used in other locations where Mr. Pickard was a subcontractor."

Anderson said it's unknown at this time how much the stolen computer hardware is worth, but the estimate is more than $100,000.

Pickard was taken from his home to the Lake County jail and was issued $100,000 bail. He was freed from jail after posting $10,000, Anderson said.

His next court date is scheduled Wednesday.

Anyone with additional information is asked to call the Lincolnshire Police Department at (847) 883-9900.

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