Police are searching for two Frederick County teen-agers who they believe are responsible for numerous thefts of ketamine from area animal hospitals.
James Lee Partin Rice, 18, of the 1700 block of Northridge Lane in Frederick and Steven Daniel Rau, 18, whose last known address was in Frederick County, are charged with multiple counts of breaking and entering, theft and destruction of property, Howard County police said.
Rau also is wanted in connection with numerous animal hospital burglaries in Frederick County that took place more than six months ago, said Sgt. Tim Clarke of the Frederick County Sheriff's Office.
"We had six or seven that happened one right after another," Clarke said. "Ketamine was missing in every case."
Ketamine, an animal tranquilizer, has been stolen from animal hospitals in recent years for use as a club drug. The drug is called "Special K" and "K" when used illegally.
Illegal use of ketamine commonly involves the user cooking a vial of the liquid down to powder form and then snorting it, said Cathy Gallagher, diversion group supervisor for the Baltimore division of the federal Drug Enforcement Administration.
High doses of the drug can cause users to feel a near-death sensation, known as entering a "K-hole," she said.
Frederick police also want to question both teen-agers about a recent rash of residential burglaries in Frederick County, Clarke said.
Howard County police were led to the two teen-agers through the Maryland State Police after they arrested a woman Monday on suspicion of driving a stolen vehicle. The woman claimed she knew the pair who had been burglarizing Howard County animal hospitals.
"The woman knew details about the crimes that only those involved would have been able to tell her," said county police spokesman Cpl. Paul Yodzis. "It was clear that they had told her what happened."
Columbia Animal Hospital on Hickory Ridge Road has been burglarized five times since March and VCA Lewis Animal Hospital on Ten Oaks Road in Clarksville was burglarized once this summer. Ketamine was taken all six times, county police said.
Columbia Animal Hospital installed video cameras after being burglarized once in March and twice in April. Two burglars - white males in their late teens to early 20s - were captured on videotape during a burglary July 31.
The woman detained by state police knew Howard County police were investigating ketamine thefts because she had seen video stills of the two burglars in the media, Yodzis said.
Court documents show that Rau has an outstanding warrant for 14 burglary, theft and destruction of property counts connected to the Frederick County animal hospital burglaries.
One of the teen-agers may have left the state, Yodzis said. Clarke said he did not believe either was still in Frederick County.