Five Pharmacy Robberies in Five Weeks

By Megan Trent

February 7, 2012 Updated Feb 7, 2012 at 7:58 PM EDT

FORT WAYNE, Ind. (Indiana's NewsCenter) - A common thread can be found in the five area pharmacy robberies Fort Wayne Police have investigated so far in 2012.

Police say the powerful pain killer Opana has been the target in all five robberies, although it is not yet clear if the robberies are related or the work of copy cats.

In almost all cases, the robber walks into a Walgreens (in one case Scott's) and heads straight for the pharmacy counter. The person is usually using a hat, scarf, or mask to conceal their identity from security cameras. Police say the angle of the security cameras sometimes makes it difficult to get a clear idea of what the perpetrator looks like.

At the counter, the robber typically hands over a note meant to look like a prescription. Instead, it's demanding Opana, but the other customers in the store may not even be aware of what is transpiring in front of them.

Officer Raquel Foster with the Fort Wayne Police Department says, "They're desperate. They've become addicted to these pain medication pills and they're feeding the habit. It's also very possible that they are distributing these pills - selling them."

Opana, stronger than Vicodin or Oxycontin, has a high street demand and can sell for a significant chunk of change.

"We really do need the public's help in being vigilant when they are at the store, looking around at those suspicious behaviors, suspicious vehicles, and don't hesitate to dial 911," says Foster. "Just remember that your priority is your safety."

It should send up a red flag if someone parks across the street before entering the pharmacy or if someone backs into a parking space and leaves their vehicle running. Also take note if someone heads straight for the pharmacy counter without taking off their hat, scarf, or sunglasses.

Anyone with information that could help solve these crimes is encouraged to contact the Fort Wayne Police Department. Find their contact information at http://www.fwpd.org/contact.html

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