Tulsa Home To 90 Percent Of Oklahoma Pharmacy Robberies

Tuesday, April 28th 2015, 6:01 pm

By: News On 6

Tulsa's a hot spot for pharmacy robberies. Police say 90 percent of all the pharmacy robberies in Oklahoma, happen in the city of Tulsa.

One thing that really stands out to detectives is that some of these suspects have no criminal record at all, then take the big leap into a major felony.

Whitney Brown was one such suspect.

Police arrested her in 2013 for robbing three pharmacies, by passing notes demanding painkillers. Her family told us she'd been an honors student at Jenks, had a scholarship to college, but then was in a bad car wreck and became addicted to painkillers. That's when everything changed.

Records show the courts gave her a second chance with a recovery program rather than prison. Two years later, her progress report is great. She's working, taking parenting classes, staying clean and attending recovery classes and more.

But not all cases work out that way.

"It's a crime that carries a lot of risk and very little reward," said Sergeant Brandon Watkins, Tulsa Police Department.

Delricko Smart's family says he'd never been in trouble with the law, was a church going, family man. He was in a car wreck, then nearly cut off his leg during a chainsaw accident and became addicted to painkillers.

9/12/2014 Related Story: Tulsa Family Blames Addiction For Accused Pharmacy Robber's Actions

Police say Smart began doing violent, take over-style robberies while wearing a Halloween mask.

Police shot him after they say he tried to run over them. He faces several armed robbery and a couple of assault charges and has given up his right to a jury trial.

His family and pastor were shocked, but police are seeing this more and more often.

"It's a huge jump to go to citizen without a speeding ticket, to armed robbery. A lot of people are making that jump and it's a little odd," Watkins said.

Tulsa had 40 pharmacy robberies last year. A recent one, where a man walked up to a Walgreens pharmacy counter recently and demanded pain killers, is the seventh one so far this year.

4/28/2015 Related Story: Masked Man Uses Shotgun To Rob Tulsa Drug Store

Police say it's helped that pharmacies added time delay safes and officers are catching 80 to 90 percent of the robbers, but until the addiction problem is addressed, this type of crime is here to stay.

The victims of these robberies tell me they don't care if the person is a first time offender who's an addict or a repeat criminal, because, to them, going through such a terrifying ordeal is just as traumatic either way.


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