September 25, 2012

Pittsfield pharmacy robbery thwarted when pharmacist says no to drugs

Pharmacy employee declined to hand over drugs to would-be robber

By Rachel Ohm
Staff Writer

PITTSFIELD -- An attempted robbery at a Rite Aid pharmacy failed Tuesday morning after a pharmacist refused a demand for drugs.

click image to enlarge

Contributed photo Police are looking for the man in this security camera photo for attempting to rob a Rite Aid pharmacy in Pittsfield Tuesday.

click image to enlarge

Staff photo by David Leaming

Additional Photos Below

When the would-be robber handed a pharmacy clerk a note that said "I have a gun and I want drugs," the clerk gave the note to a pharmacist who refused, according to Police Chief Steven Emery.

The pharmacist told the robber -- who didn't show a gun -- that "you're not leaving here with any drugs," and the man walked away, according to Emery.

Patrol officer Greg Sides said it is unusual for a pharmacy to refuse a robber.

"It's kind of standard practice for pharmacies to just give them what they want," he said.

"Everybody is getting sick of it," Emery said. "They are hoping it will stop."

The man appeared to be in his early 30s and was wearing a flame-colored bandana, sunglasses, a tan shirt and camouflage-print pants, Emery said. He was seen on security cameras arriving at the Rite Aid at 506 Somerset Ave., just off of Interstate 95, and leaving on foot.

Police arrived at the pharmacy shortly after receiving a call at 10:48 a.m. and were joined in the search for the man by Somerset County sheriff's deputies and Maine State Police with a tracking dog.

Emery said the note the man left after Tuesday's attempt is being sent to the State Police Crime Lab in Augusta for analysis.

The same store was robbed in May and October.

The attempt Tuesday would have been the 40th pharmacy robbery in Maine this year, according to Department of Public Safety spokesman Steve McCausland. Last year, there were 24 pharmacy robberies in the state, he said.

Only a small number of pharmacy robberies are unsuccessful.

"A vast majority of pharmacists comply with a robber's demands," he said. "They are always after prescription drugs and get them."

The store was closed for about an hour and a half, but was open again by 12:30 p.m. A spokeswoman for Rite Aid did not have a comment Tuesday.

Rachel Ohm -- 612-2368

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Additional Photos

click image to enlarge

SECOND TIME: Pittsfield Police Chief Steven Emery, left, and officer Tim Roussin outside the RiteAid store in Pittsfield on Tuesday shortly after a male suspect handed a note to an employee demanding drugs. The suspect left the store without drugs and did not reveal the gun that he claimed he had.

Staff photo by David Leaming

click image to enlarge

Contributed photo Police are looking for the man in this security camera photo for attempting to rob a Rite Aid pharmacy in Pittsfield Tuesday.


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