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21 Calgary pharmacies robbed since September: police

A suspect in one of 21 pharmacy robberies across Calgary, in an undated photo from the Calgary Police Service. handout / Calgary Police Service

Calgary police are warning that pharmacy robberies are on the rise.

Since September, pharmacies across the city have reported 21 robberies, including two on Tuesday.

The pattern is similar: an individual approaches the pharmacist with a firearm, walks behind the counter, and takes drugs and cash, often with a collaborator staying at the door. Police said the drugs that are stolen range from cough syrup to codeine.

A suspect of a recent pharmacy robbery in this undated picture from Calgary Police Service. handout / Calgary Police Service
A suspect of a recent pharmacy robbery in this undated picture from Calgary Police Service. handout / Calgary Police Service
A suspect of a recent pharmacy robbery in this undated picture from Calgary Police Service. handout / Calgary Police Service
A suspect of a recent pharmacy robbery in this undated picture from Calgary Police Service. handout / Calgary Police Service
A suspect of a recent pharmacy robbery in this undated picture from Calgary Police Service. handout / Calgary Police Service

These robberies have happened in all four quadrants of the city, and CPS detectives are trying to determine if this is the work of select individuals or groups, or if this is a general crime trend.

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Five northwest pharmacies have been robbed, four in the northeast, five in the southeast and seven in the southwest.

A map of the 21 pharmacy robberies across Calgary since Sept. 2020. handout / Calgary Police Service

Police have the following advice for pharmacy owners and employees:

  • Keep safes locked at all times.
  • Minimize the amount of cash and drugs readily available on site.
  • CCTV Tips:
    • Test your cameras to make sure they are working.
    • Ensure quality of the image is sufficient to be usable in identifying suspects.
    • Have purposeful focus.
    • Position at least one to have a level line of sight of patrons, overhead views do not provide much assistance in identifying suspects.
    • Ensure staff can access video content at any time and if possible, move the video to a cloud-based storage. After an event, this footage will be required as soon as possible for descriptions.
  • Place height strip tape on the interior side of the main entrance door.
  • Keep any doors separating the pharmacy from the store locked.
  • Utilize a panic alarm for employees.
  • If a robbery occurs, call 9-1-1 immediately and lock the doors to the premise to preserve evidence after robbery until police arrive.

Police are asking anyone with information about the incidents to call the non-emergency line at 403-266-1234 or contact Crime Stoppers.

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