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Police: Leaf broke into home to steal bottle of painkillers

HELENA, Mont. -- Police in Montana arrested Ryan Leaf after a month-long investigation that culminated with the former NFL quarterback breaking into an acquaintance's home to steal prescription pain medication, the task force commander who led the probe said Saturday.

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Authorities believe Leaf might have broken into other homes in search of prescription drugs over the past one-and-a-half years and are asking those victims to come forward, said Central Montana Drug Force Commander Chris Hickman.

"We do have some information that this may not be an isolated incident," Hickman said.

Leaf faced a similar accusation in 2008, when he was accused of burglarizing a player's home while he was a quarterbacks coach for Division II West Texas A&M. An investigation revealed that Leaf had obtained nearly 1,000 pain pills from area pharmacies in an eight-month span. He reached a plea agreement in 2010 that gave him a 10-year probation.

The prosecutor in that case said he'll file a motion Monday to revoke Leaf's probation following his Montana arrest.

Leaf was arrested Friday in his hometown of Great Falls and charged with burglary, possession of a dangerous drug and theft. He is free on $76,000 bail and is scheduled to make a court appearance Monday.

Leaf didn't respond to text and voicemail messages left Saturday.

Hickman said the task force's investigation began about a month ago when postal workers in Great Falls told police that Leaf had been receiving c.o.d. packages worth $500 or more once or twice per week.

The packages were small, they rattled and they were sent from a Florida address that turned out to be a mailbox company, a favored method for distributing illegal prescriptions, Hickman said.

Police were familiar with Leaf's history of prescription medication problems, so they kept watch and decided to act when the packages began to arrive more frequently.

Task force members on Friday told Leaf's probation officer to call in the ex-quarterback. They searched Leaf and his truck, finding two prescription bottles in a pocket of a golf bag, which was embroidered with Leaf's name. One unlabeled bottle had 28 pills that turned out to be oxycodone, a schedule 2 narcotic for which Leaf doesn't have a prescription. The other was empty, but its label said it was oxycodone prescribed for another person, Hickman said.

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That person, whom Hickman didn't name, is an acquaintance of Leaf's. Police interviewed him, his live-in girlfriend and his housekeeper, and concluded that Leaf entered the house without permission Thursday afternoon and took the man's prescription medication.

Police also searched Leaf's home but didn't find any more painkillers or any evidence from the packages he had been receiving in the mail.

Leaf told police that he had been receiving medication through the mail for which he has a prescription, but he didn't provide proof, Hickman said.

Copyright 2012 by The Associated Press

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