Money for nothin’, narcotics for free. While dopeheads are content to rob mere convenience stores, drug dealers hit licks at your friendly neighborhood pharmacy. What does it take to steal tens of thousands of dollars in powerful narcotics and get away clean? Astoundingly little. An overnight robbery in November revealed laughable security failures at an average supermarket pharmacy in upscale North Dallas.
My night manager was talking to me as I threw stock on the dog food aisle when the booming pharmacy alarm sounded. Being the responsible nocturnal steward he was, my boss ran toward the imperiled dope department. Having been robbed as a nightshift cashier months ago, I was thoroughly disinterested in the action. I kept working steadily as I tried to shake the ludicrous fear that yet another masked gunman would come after me.
After a while, my boss approached me with a grin on his face. “I hope you brought your book,” he cackled. During my lunch breaks, I had been reading an investigative book about domestic surveillance after Sept. 11. Upon being notified of the break-in, loss prevention gave one lucky member of the night crew an interesting assignment. The boss laughed as he handed down orders to have me posted by the pharmacy should another break-in occur before loss prevention arrived. My tension melted as I chuckled at this asinine assignment.
After 20 minutes of droning, the alarm was shut off. The unlucky night stocker who would get back to the grindstone was eagerly talking to police as I passed by en route to the pharmacy. What a rush this little ransacking must have been for him.
There I was, sitting on my narrow ass, reading my book, and eating a free jelly doughnut. I went ahead and checked my blood pressure just for laughs. Thrilled with my luck, I looked through the pharmacy pick-up window and whipped out my handy notebook.
Mangled mini-blinds from the drive-thru window had been cast onto the floor. The flimsy drive-thru window was the point of entry, pried open in an instant with an ordinary crowbar. Even McDonald’s drive-thru windows guarding petty cash have lock bars, but not here where a wealth of popular dope is at stake. A cabinet that looked like the one holding swabs and examination gloves at your doctor’s office was opened and empty. There were absolutely no pry marks on this cabinet, which contained all of the pharmacy’s high-dollar dope. If the cabinet ever had a lock, it was clearly not being used. Guess where the brain trust put all this: right next to the drive-thru window.
Morphine, oxycodone, methadone, and fentanyl were among the narcotics stolen, according to the labels on the cabinet’s shelves. According to my night manager, who saw the bandit escape through the window, the robber was a bulky man wearing all black with the archetypal black ski mask and was armed with a crowbar. Passing by the pharmacy on my walk home as usual, I saw deep crowbar marks on the windowsill. That was all it took. Management made it too easy – for the second time.
My night manager identified the robber as being identical to the man who knocked off the pharmacy in a nighttime raid three months prior, according to video footage. During the first robbery, the pharmacy alarm was out of commission and the robbery was not discovered until the pharmacist arrived that morning. In his debut lick, the bandit scored $20,000 to $30,000 in narcotics with an estimated street value upwards of $1 million.
The disconcerted store manager waltzed toward the pharmacy waiting area. My 45 minutes of company ordered lounging was over. I slowly marked my place in my book with a pipe cleaner and deftly half-smirked at my store manager’s aghast demeanor. Despite their true role as petty corporate tools, store managers typically respond to incidents with a grave sincerity born of managerial self-importance. If some desperate vulture had struck the pharmacy once more, I would’ve ran for another doughnut.
Were all these security failures even legal? An assload of serious dope made it’s way onto the street with no apparent risk to the robber. One has to wonder how many pharmacies get pillaged after dark. This crime is infinitely safer and more lucrative than common robberies. Supermarkets would never get the same reputation as crime magnets that convenience stores do, and nobody but us would ever have to know.
Incompetence is costly and dangerous. A presumed drug dealer procuring that much dope causes an obvious chain reaction of street crime – and it’s all management’s fault. Pharmacy security should be held to a higher standard, and the vanguards of criminal stupidity should be held accountable. Then again, if the job were harder, he might bring a gun. Perhaps we’ll see him in another three months. I still see no lockbar on the drive-thru window.Powered by Sidelines