Time locks to frustrate impatient prescription bandits
Reporter: Craig Smith
TUCSON (KGUN9-TV) - To criminals, stealing prescription drugs is part of a cycle of crime that can touch us all.
Now a national pharmacy chain has a way to keep a tighter lid on the drugs, and maybe keep customers and workers safer.
Surveillance cameras caught images from a series of five robberies at pharmacies around Tucson. A man demanded the powerful painkiller oxycodone---a drug popular with addicts so it's popular with robbers.
The photos shook loose a tip that led to the arrest of 57 year old Robert F. Gutierrez.
Now Walgreen's thinks it has a way to keep the bandits away and it wants them to know about it. Narcotics are normally under lock and key, but now the keys won't open these doors right away. There's a time delay designed to make a robber wait long enough to lose his nerve and run away.
KGUN9 reporter Craig Smith asked Walgreen's Loss Prevention Manager Katherine Marquez: "You could almost imagine a scenario where, now you have an angry, frustrated, agitated thief who's stuck there with your people are you concerned about that?"
Marquez: "Yes. Absolutely, we've seen in other states that we've rolled this out, then tend not to wait because it obviously increases their risk of getting caught. They just like to come in and leave as soon as possible."
Walgreen's wants robbers to know about the time locks, and about sharp, new surveillance systems so they'll decide to not even try a stick up.
They say pharmacy robberies have dropped an average of 84 percent in states where they've already tried this approach.
Time locks have been common for years in businesses that handle lots of cash, now law enforcement is interested to see how well they work against drug theft.