BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) - Imagine someone coming at you with a baseball bat while you're trying to do your job. That's what happened at a pharmacy in Kenmore. It wasn't over cash, it was drugs specifically hydrocodone. Hydrocodone is a popular target for thieves because of the demand and market for the opiate.
Pharmacy robberies have been a major problem in western New York, there have already been a half dozen area Rite Aid stores robbed for pills this year. In the included photo and video, you can see surveillance images from the Rite Aid store at Kenmore and Colvin Avenues.
In the video you can see the robber come into the store and ominously walk through the aisle. The robber makes his way to the pharmacy section, leaps over the counter with a baseball bat in hand toward the unsuspecting pharmacists. The person demands a bottle of hydrocodone, which is given to him before he jumps back over the counter and leaves.
Pill robbing, especially hydrocodone, from pharmacies has been a major problem in western New York. From Springville, to West Seneca, East Aurora and Buffalo, no store in any town is immune to these types of robberies.
Last September Larwood Pharmacy Co-owner Becky Almond said, "People are trying to get in for our drugs. It is not the money, it is not the cash registers, it is the drugs."
Hydrocodone is the most prescribed drug in the United States. It's also one of the most abused. The drug is an opioid, in the same family of drugs as oxycodone, morphine and heroin. There is also a big market and demand for these types of pills.
In South Buffalo, the owner of the Seneca Pharmacy no longer keeps Oxycontin in stock after four armed holdups, one of them with deadly consequences, as police tracked down the robbery suspect, and shot him to death in his home.
Seneca Pharmacy Owner Cyrus Ardalan said, "Brings a little delay, for the patient getting the drugs by one day, but it removes us from being a target, because we do not keep the drug in stock."
Rite Aids like the one most recently hit in Kenmore, have been a favorite target. We know at least six local locations that have been robbed so far this year.
Police say the man left in a green Pontiac Grand Prix. Rite Aid is offering a $1,000 reward. Kenmore Police are taking tips at 875-1234.
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