Indiana tops nation in drugstore robberies

A CVS Pharmacy on the west side was robbed October 31.
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Your chances of crossing paths with a robber when you stop at your local pharmacy is greater in Indiana than anywhere else in the country.

The state tops the nation for drugstore robberies.

Thieves, often armed, knock over pharmacies in search of painkillers. In one recent security video, a suspect in a wig demanded drugs from a pharmacist as a mother and child shopped nearby, unaware of what was going on.

Conya Scherer says getting caught up in a drugstore robbery hadn't crossed her mind until now.

"You might think about shoplifting, but not anything violent. That is news to me," she said.

Indiana had 53 pharmacy robberies in all of 2011. But the state is on pace to double that number with two months left in 2012. So far this year, Arizona has had only 46 drugstore robberies and Ohio has only had 40.

Psychologist Dr. Shelvy Keglar of Indianapolis treats and counsels people with addictions.

"For addicts, the motivation is desperation. They get that glow and that rush feeling and crave that beyond the submission of the pain," Keglar said.

During a mid-afternoon 911 call from the CVS Pharmacy at 56th and Illinois Streets this past Sunday, the store manager not only told the dispatcher the robber was getting away with a bag of prescription pills, but she also gave a good description of the suspect.

"He has on a burgundy jacket and blue jeans," the manager said. "He is walking out with a bag full of drugs. He's got on sunglasses."

Until Indiana's number of pharmacy robberies drops, police say you should stay alert when you're at the drugstore.

"I will watch a little bit closer, I guess," Scherer said.

Your anonymous tips to Crime Stoppers at 262-TIPS can earn you a cash reward.

What to do during a robbery

Police offer the following tips for what you should do if you ever find yourself in the middle of a robbery attempt.

1. Do not resist, move as instructed to move by the perp.

2. Become a good witness for police, do be careful about direct eye contact or staring, they may figure you are trying to remember what they looked like, and react negatively.

Catalogue what your senses tell you about this person.@ How they smell, Listen to how they talk, if more than one robber listen for names.

3. When they leave and everyone is safe, do not touch anything, Try to remember what they may have touched to help police with forensic evidence.

4. Please stay on the scene until Police are able to talk to you.@ When police arrive do not be insulted if the Officers are cautious about who you are until they know the crime scene is safe.