Walgreens. The Pharmacy Drug-Crazed Armed Robbers In Washington State Seem To Trust.

Tonight my friends the magic of the Internet will take us to the great Pacific Northwest, specifically to Seattle, home of lots of rain, the legacy of both Jimi Hendrix and Kurt Cobain, and perhaps not surprisingly lots of folks who seem to like their Oxycontin:

It's not the place you'd expect to come face-to-face with a dangerous criminal.

But in record numbers in Washington state, pharmacies are being robbed, and robbers are targeting two big-name chain stores....

Whoever wrote that first line has never worked in a pharmacy a day in their life. 

KING 5 Investigators researched drug store crimes in Washington dating back to 2003. At that time Rite Aid and Walgreens accounted for only 17 percent of hold-ups. Most were at mom- and- pop shops.

But we discovered an astonishing reversal by 2008, when nearly three quarters of robberies happened at Walgreens and Rite Aid.

When not reached for comment, Rite Aid CEO Mary Sammons didn't say "Wow! You...you called us a BIG-NAME chain store! BIG-NAME! My God! Maybe we are going to make it if an actual news reporter says we're BIG-NAME!"

Sammons then didn't announce a new Rite Aid program whereupon any armed robber who held up a Walgreens in the past would be eligible for a $25 gift card the next four times they rob a Rite Aid.

OK I was kidding about that. Kind of. The TV station doing the story did get a written statement from Walgreens though, and being a fair and balanced kind of guy, I thought it might be interesting to play with the cut and paste and let you look at a few things side by side. From Walgreens statement:

Walgreens has almost doubled the number of drug stores it operates in Washington. In 2003, Walgreens operated 65 stores compared to 111 stores now.


Oh, I see, that totally explains why there are way more robberies at Walgreens now.

Except when you read the original story you'll see it doesn't.

...combined, Rite Aid and Walgreens still account for only one fifth of pharmacies statewide.


Now go back up and read the blockquote that says three-quarters of robberies in Washington were at Walgreens or Rite Aid locations. Walgreens hopes you won't, because if you do you'll probably realize three quarters is way bigger than one fifth. And that Walgreens is full of shit.

That was fun. Let's try another. Walgreens says:

Over the last year, all of our stores have been outfitted with profile cameras.

Wow. That makes me feel all secure and stuff. Now to the news story:

Cameras are the number one tool to identify and convict suspects.

While the DEA wouldn't single out any pharmacy, agent Carter said: "It's more often than not that the video is of no value"

When cameras are present they're often pointed at the pharmacy's own employees to guard against internal theft. There isn't much financial incentive to aim those cameras at the robbers.

Pharmacies don't necessarily lose money from robberies of OxyContin, which is the drug stolen in 90 percent of these crimes.

Manufacturer Purdue Pharma, concerned by the refusal of some pharmacies to stock the drug, has a program to pay all insurance deductibles and uninsured OxyContin losses.

Because pharmacies aren't losing money some are slow to upgrade security, exposing employees and customers to the dangers that accompany every desperate robber who walks through the door.

And that makes me feel......like a trusted professional. And a valued member of the corporate team. How non-surprised I was to read those words.

Walgreens employees have been trained on how to detect and react to potential robberies.

Detecting a robbery isn't all that hard. And I'll tell you exactly how Walgreens employees have been trained to react. Give them everything they want. And hope they don't kill you. Robbers have gotten hip to this policy, which is why three quarters of Washington robberies are happening at the big chains and not at independents where things like this can happen:

Mike Donohue runs a small "mom and pop" pharmacy in Seattle's Ballard neighborhood.

His security camera recorded a hooded man earlier this year walking into the pharmacy on the same day Donohue returned from the police station to identify a suspect from an earlier robbery.

"I was in disbelief," Donohue said. "I thought this can't be happening again."

It was, but this time Donohue fought back. When the robber saw Donohue’s Glock 19 handgun, he ran out the pharmacy door.


No word on Donohue's gift card policy. Or if he treats the people he chooses to hire as criminals.

Christ I need a new job.

Thanks to the multiple alert readers who tipped me to the story.
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Walgreens. The Pharmacy Drug-Crazed Armed Robbers In Washington State Seem To Trust.
Walgreens. The Pharmacy Drug-Crazed Armed Robbers In Washington State Seem To Trust.
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