If investigators are right, John William Bell likes morphine and other heavy-duty narcotics so much that he was willing to do almost anything to get them, including lying, forgery and throwing an acquaintance to the dogs, in a manner of speaking -- because one of the crime scenes in the long-running case was an animal hospital.
On February 12, according to the Pueblo County Sheriff's Office, a deputy sheriff was contacted by the Greenhorn Valley Veterinary Clinic in Colorado City about the theft of liquid morphine.
The drug, which is used during surgery on animals, had been kept in the clinic's safe, and since there was no damage to it or the building as a whole, clues pointed to an inside job. However, the PCSO says employees were questioned and cleared of any wrongdoing in the incident.
At that point, the case went cold -- but it was reheated in mid-August, after a Colorado City pharmacist contacted the sheriff's office in regard to a possibly fraudulent prescription for Norco, described as a combination of Acetaminophen and Hydrocodone, submitted by Bell. Deputies subsequently checked with Bell's doctor, who said the prescription had been altered; no Norco had been prescribed to him.
Shortly thereafter, detectives discovered that Bell had apparently tried this gambit before: He had an active warrant in his name via the Pueblo Police Department for unlawfully obtaining a controlled substance by fraud or deceit.
At that point, Bell was busted, and during questioning, he reportedly spilled about the February robbery at the vet clinic. Seems he knew an employee and had managed to snake his keys and swipe the morphine without his knowledge.
What a pal.
Bell is now facing another charge of unlawfully obtaining a controlled substance by fraud, plus an allegation of second-degree burglary of a Schedule I substance.
That's bad news for him, but good news for sick dogs in Colorado City. Sweet dreams, puppies.
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Here's a larger look at Bell's booking photo.