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Suspect in Custody in Swan Pharmacy Narcotics Robbery

Five employees and two customers were in store when robber entered and produced a note demanding all the store's Oxycodone and saying he had a gun. He made off with a quantity of pills, but police say he has been apprehended.

Wauwatosa police say that a suspect has been arrested and remains in custody in an armed robbery in March of a neighborhood pharmacy for narcotics.

Department detectives said the suspect was arrested in another jurisdiction, and he has yet to be charged.

The details of the robbery had been withheld from the public until now because of sensitive details in the investigation leading to the arrest.

According to the police report:

At 12:40 p.m. March 15, the , 9130 W. North Ave., was robbed by a man who claimed to have a gun and demanded that a clerk fill a bag with Oxycodone. He did not ask for any cash or show a weapon.

There were two customers, the store’s owner and pharmacist, and four other pharmacy technicians in the store.

Several members of the pharmacy staff noticed the man when he entered – he was wearing a surgical mask.

But unlike most places, that did not cause immediate alarm. People with respiratory ailments are frequent drug counter customers, they said, and many of them wear hospital masks all the time.

Video showed the man waiting about 10 feet behind a customer at the counter and holding a duffel bag.

When he stepped forward, he first said, “I’m picking up for Williams.” According to the clerk, there was a call-in prescription ready for a regular customer named Williams, so she thought nothing of that.

But then the man handed her a note that read “This is a robbery. Put all Oxycodone in bag. 30, 15, 10, 5. I have a gun.” He held a hand inside the bag, implying that he was holding a weapon on her.

Another technician noticed that her colleague looked "frazzled" and was nervously filling a store bag with numerous prescriptions – but it still didn't dawn on her what was happening.

The store owner even tried "being funny" with the man when he saw he was wearing a mask, thinking he was trying some sort of prescription scam, and raised his hands in mock surrender.

Then he, too, noticed the number of drugs his assistant was bagging and realized a real robbery was taking place.

The robber immediately confronted the owner and demanded the telephone receiver off the counter, which he put in his bag along with the drugs.

Wauwatosa police were called immediately after the suspect left, and they were close by. Officers found the clerk who had been victimized standing outside the front door in tears. But the robber was gone.

The demand note was found about 60 feet east down the alley behind the store – and that was the suspect's undoing, and the reason police kept the report from the public.

Evidence recovered from the note was sent to the State Crime Lab and came back with a positive ID.

jbw April 20, 2012 at 04:04 AM
Hey, congrats for a successful investigation.
Jim Price April 20, 2012 at 04:41 AM
Yep, jbw, it's nice when the good guys win, after such a harrowing experience for the store staff. There will be more to this story, too.

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