The combination of cash and drugs in one location must be alluring to criminals in pursuit of both, as pharmacy robberies seem to be on the upswing. Unfortunately for the crooks, some pharmacists are armed and ready to defend themselves.
Following are six pharmacy robberies that ended badly for the thieves, thanks to an armed citizen ready to take action.
A West Virginia pharmacist with a concealed-carry permit saved several staff members from an armed robber. A gunman entered the Pinch, W.Va., business and threatened the workers. The unidentified pharmacist responded by drawing his concealed handgun and shooting the intruder multiple times. Pharmacy staff members administered first aid to the injured gunman, who later died at a Charleston hospital. (WCHS.com, Charleston, W.Va., 2/18/15)
A man with what looked like a real gun entered Medicap Pharmacy in Cheyenne, Wyo., pointed it at an employee, handed over a bag, and ordered him to fill it with oxycodone and Percocet. Pharmacist Jackson Quick became aware of the robbery, and retrieved a gun. As Quick was making his way to another part of the store, he ducked behind a counter, but the criminal spotted him. Quick responded by standing up and firing at the criminal, striking him and ending the robbery. The robber is expected to survive. Police have no plans to charge Quick. (The Wyoming Tribune Eagle, Cheyenne, Wyo., 12/9/14)
Owner Andy Blansett and employee Melanie Miller were working at the Medicine Shoppe pharmacy in North Little Rock, Ark., when a man came in and demanded painkillers. The man then drew a machete, intimidated Miller and attempted to climb over the pharmacy’s counter. In response, Blansett retrieved a .45-caliber pistol and pointed it at the thief, causing him to flee.
Drug thieves beware: In an interview with a local media outlet, Blansett noted, “All of the independently owned pharmacists I know carry a concealed [weapon] on them or have one in the store.” (KATV, Little Rock, Ark., 9/5/13)
Bill Canada, owner of Meadow’s Pharmacy, had just opened the drug store moments before an armed man wearing a mask entered and demanded money. Canada backed away from the robber, but the robber advanced toward him. Canada pulled out his gun and fired a single shot. The suspect’s wounds proved fatal. Canada was not injured during the robbery. (Pine Bluff Commercial, Dumas, Ark., 10/19/13)
Pharmacist Terrell Milby was working at Westside Jiffy Pharmacy when a young man entered and asked to speak with him about a list of medications. The man stood at the consultation window and handed Milby a napkin. On the napkin was a handwritten note requesting an unspecified number of painkillers and syringes. The list also included the warning, “I have a gun.” Milby said he didn’t believe the would-be robber actually had a gun and showed him his own firearm. Milby then ordered the man to get on the floor. Upon seeing the pharmacist’s firearm, the robber turned and fled. Milby called police and was able to later identify the man who attempted to rob the pharmacy. The suspect was then arrested and charged with first-degree robbery. “You can never be too careful,” Milby said of the incident. “You never know who’s going to walk in.” (The News Courier, Athens, Ala., 5/14/13)
Pharmacist Dr. John Agyemang was working his shift at Jolin’s Pharmacy in Winslow, N.J., when an armed robber entered the store and demanded OxyContin pills. Agyemang responded by retrieving a gun and firing at the criminal, who fled to a bike and into a nearby wooded area. An investigation revealed that Agyemang had a firearm owner’s identification card as required by New Jersey law. When asked about his actions Agyemang was humble, stating, “I'm no hero, but I thought, either him or I.” (CBS News, 9/14/12)