Thursday march 18th, a man held up the Woodward Pharmacy in Houtzdale for a bottle of high strength Oxycontin. The gunman was captured on surveillance video. If you know anything that could help police catch the criminal, you're asked to call 1-800-4PA-TIPS.
Pharmacy owners contacted police about getting the reward set up. But they're doing more than just offering money. They're actually taking pills off the shelf. The owner says she's doing what she thinks is best to keep her employees, her customers, and really the whole community safe. Karen Gathagan says if people are going to point a gun at her employees to steal high strength pain killers, she won't have them in the store. This is new to her, but Thompson Pharmacy has been hit several times.
And Bill Thompson Jr. says it's happening more often. He's grateful to Operation Our Town for funding Cops in Shops. That puts undercover officers in pharmacies. He also depends on video surveillance. He says other stores have armed their pharmacists. He's not ready to go that far, but he is working with other pharmacies to come up with new ideas.
Thompson says not carrying the high strength medication is not an option for his stores. But Gathagan says is a customer needs that powerful of a pain medication, they'll help them work something out.
A Rite Aid spokesperson says when pharmacy robberies get to be a problem they stop carrying the high strength medications too. And they special order it when a legitimate customer needs it.