June 9, 2009 in City

Police hope photos help solve robbery

OxyContin thefts from pharmacies had stalled until Sunday incident
Meghann M. Cuniff meghannc@spokesman.com, (509) 459-5534
 
Courtesy of Spokane Police Department photo

This image shows the suspect in a robbery at a Walgreens store.Courtesy of Spokane Police Department
(Full-size photo)

Surveillance photos were released Monday of a man suspected of robbing a South Hill Walgreens this weekend – the first successful OxyContin robbery from a pharmacy in several months.

The photos show a young man in a long-sleeved white shirt, a black hat with a diamond Volcom logo and black sunglasses entering and exiting the pharmacy at East 29th Avenue and South Grand Boulevard on Sunday about 3 p.m. The shirt had dragon designs on the sleeves.

The man handed employees a note demanding OxyContin, police said. He did not display a gun.

Witnesses described the man as having a bad complexion and chapped lips, police said.

Crime Stoppers is offering a reward for information that solves the crime, the first OxyContin heist from a pharmacy in Spokane since police arrested a couple in connection with a string of robberies in January and February that included a robbery at the North Side Shopko on Feb. 3.

“OxyContin’s a bad deal,” said Sgt. Joe Peterson. “There’s always going to be somebody addicted trying to get it some way. It’s very expensive and very addictive.”

The city has still seen its share of prescription-drug-related crimes, including a home invasion robbery in east Spokane County last week and an overnight burglary at a Spokane health clinic in the spring. Pharmacies haven’t been immune to criminal activity, either.

On April 29, 22-year-old Jeremy M. Mace was arrested for allegedly robbing the Rite Aid at the Franklin Park Mall on Division Street of methadone after a citizen spotted him running from the store.

Two weeks later, detectives credited a Walgreens employee with talking a young man out of robbing the store after he handed him a note demanding drugs, according to the Spokane County Sheriff’s Office.

No one has been arrested in that incident.

Peterson said the street price of OxyContin has increased because supply has dropped. Pills generally sell for up to $100, depending on the dosage.

“I’m pretty sure that we haven’t seen the last of OxyContin robberies,” Peterson said.

Anyone with information on Sunday’s robbery is asked to call Crime Stoppers at (800) 222-TIPS or submit tips online at www.crimestoppersinlandnorth west.org.


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