To Prevent Robberies, Walgreens Installs Time-Delay Safes In Oklahoma

Wednesday, July 30th 2014, 1:34 pm
By: News On 6

Erin Conrad, News On 6

TULSA, Oklahoma - With prescription drug thefts on the rise in Oklahoma, one major drug retailer is taking steps to protect their employees and customers.

Walgreens is taking security to the next level with some of their narcotics by installing time-delay safes in all of their locations in Tulsa and around the state; Wednesday, those safes went online.

This comes just weeks after two separate robberies at two different Walgreens locations -- one at 51st Street and Lewis Avenue and another in Owasso. Tulsa police said both robberies were prescription drug thefts.

Certain drugs go in the safe and, in the case of a robbery, who knows when they could come out. It's a wait time pharmacists say they don't mind, but hope thieves do.

"I feel like individuals who would originally intend to rob our pharmacies are going to think twice because it's going to increase their chances of being caught. They're going to have to stay in the pharmacy longer," said Pharmacist, Olivia Ochoa.

The state of Oklahoma is the most recent addition to a growing list of places where Walgreens is beefing up security. The time-delay safe is bolted to the floor inside the pharmacy and will hold drugs targeted by crooks.

Corporal Chris Stout, with Tulsa Police, said, "They're going after the Roxycodone, the Oxycotin, Lortabs, all the pain medication is what they're going after."

But what about the medication you're after? Wait times for prescriptions can seem endless when a patient is experiencing pain.

"As we've implemented this we've been very careful of making sure our workflow will accommodate the use of the time-delay safe with a minimal impact to the customer, so it shouldn't affect the customer in any way," said Walgreens District Loss Prevention Manager, Jory Withers.

A minimal impact on the customer, but one Walgreens hopes will have a big impact on armed robberies.

"I think the time-delay safe is going to be a roadblock to those who are agitated and they're just going to leave and so they're not going to stick around to get even more agitated," Stout said.

Making those in charge of the medications breathe a little easier.

"We do, we feel a lot safer having these implemented,” Ochoa said.

For security reasons, Walgreens isn’t saying how long the delay lasts, but they will say the time it takes has been long enough to deter thieves in other states.