CASHMERE — A bottle of morphine tablets dating back to World War I was stolen from a display at the Cashmere Museum’s pioneer village Friday night.
But the person who stole the pills waited far too long to get high off them. “The half-life is such that, at 100 years, there would not be any drug efficacy at all,” according to Dr. Peter Rutherford, CEO of Wenatchee Valley Medical Center after consulting with his pharmacist. The pills do not appear to break down into anything toxic, either, he said.
To get the pills, the burglar broke through a fence, kicked in a cabin door and broke open an old glass case where the pills were on display in a period doctor’s office, said Chelan County Sheriff’s Chief of Administration John Wisemore.
The doctor’s office is part of the museum’s display of an old-fashioned town at the museum, 600 Cotlets Way, he said.
“I’ve got volunteers here today trying to clean up the mess,” museum Manager Fred Harvey said on Monday.
He said the display will be closed until it can be cleaned up and repaired. He estimated damages at $3,000.
“I think the worst thing is, the case itself was an original case, over 100 years old, and that’s actually what was destroyed. I’m almost speechless about it,” Harvey said.
He said other items from the display case were taken out and thrown across the lawn. “It’s just a real mess,” he said.
Harvey said an alarm went off at the museum’s main building on Friday night, but he and other officials found no problems when they responded.
He said the 21 buildings that form the museum’s pioneer town are not hooked up to the museum’s alarm system.
Harvey said it’s not the first time one of the cabins at the museum has been burglarized. “We’ve had the saloon broken into a couple of times,” he said. Unlike the doctor’s office, which contained real drugs, the saloon did not have any alcohol in it, he said.
Harvey said he’s not sure what the burglar could do with the drugs. “That stuff’s at least 100 years old,” he said. “I don’t really get it, to tell you the truth.”
K.C. Mehaffey: 997-2512