GASTONIA, N.C. -- Gastonia and Shelby Police detectives are investigating whether two pharmacy break-ins are connected, which resulted in thousands of pills stolen in less than a week.

The first break-in happened several days ago at Shelby Drug. According to Shelby Police, thieves cut the phone wires at the store, rendering the alarm useless, before prying open the front door. Investigators said the thieves stole almost 8,000 oxycodone and hydrocodone pills.

A few days later, Gastonia Police said thieves stole more than 17,000 pills worth an estimated $250,000 from Prescriptions Plus. A customer called Gaston County Communications after finding the store's door open with no employees inside.

"The door latch ain't even all the way latched. The latch is on the outside of the door," the customer told a dispatcher. "Something ain't right."

According to a police report, the thieves cut through the alarm system's wires and disabled the system's speaker before prying open the front door.

Both departments said it's too early to determine if the incidents are connected, but detectives from both agencies have been communicating with each other.

Anyone with information on either case can call Gastonia Police at 704-866-6702 or Shelby Police at 704-484-6845.