Increase In Tulsa Pharmacy Robberies Sparks Safety Reminder

Friday, March 25th 2011, 4:43 pm
By: News On 6

Lori Fullbright, News On 6

TULSA, Oklahoma -- Pharmacy robberies in Tulsa are on the rise. Tulsa has already had seven pharmacies robbed this year. Last year, we averaged three a month.

Most of the robbers want pain killers more than even the cash.

Many of us are in pharmacies pretty often, so it's a real safety concern, not just for pharmacists and employees anymore, but for the customers too.

Police are currently looking for a serial robber who has robbed three pharmacies and has gotten bolder each time.

The first time, he robbed a Couch Pharmacy on Sheridan and came in only with a note, requesting a certain type of Lortab, which is a painkiller.

2/14/2011 Related Story: Police Looking For Men Who Robbed Two Tulsa Pharmacies

A month later, he came back, but that time, he had a gun and the same request. Another month went by and he hit a T Roy Barnes Pharmacy on South Yale.

This time, he wasn't messing around. He pulled out the gun the minute he got inside the door, and told the employees to get their hands up and hand over the drugs.

"We don't want anybody hurt," Sergeant Dave Walker said. "We don't know if the gun is real, have to assume it is, he's waving it around. Can't see if his finger is on the trigger but anytime there's a gun and they're drug crazed, we've got problems."

A customer inside the store was at the counter, but as the robber came in, she quietly and slowly moved off to the side and out of camera range.

Police say that was perfect, because the robber is not there for you and the crime is usually over quickly, so don't make sudden movements or play hero.

"Remember, they're short lived events," Sergeant Walker said. "We don't recommend you jump on his back or take him down or anything like that."

Look around for place to take cover, in case shots are fired, but mostly, get out of the way and try to get a really good description, looking at facial features and tattoos, things not easily changed.

"Look at something on his hands, arms, neck, wherever they tattoo people," Sergeant Walker said.

As for the pharmacies, police recommend they lower their surveillance cameras to get better face shots and suggest adding cameras outdoors.

That way, if the store sees someone coming with a mask or gun, they can remotely lock the doors. Police say the robber is likely to just rattle it and leave, because they don't want to get caught.

Anyone who recognizes the serial robber, call Crime Stoppers at 918-596-COPS.