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Pharmacy Robberies: What to Do

The epidemic of prescription drug abuse has not only affected those who are addicted, but has also caused violence to occur. It is DEA’s goal to deter, dismantle and disrupt drug trafficking so we can live lives free of drugs and free of the violence associated with drug abuse.

Should a pharmacy robbery take place while you are working or shopping, we want you to be safe. Below are DEA’s guidelines and recommendations for pharmacies and citizens do if this happens.

During a robbery, the pharmacist and other employees should:

  • Avoid taking any action that may provoke violence.  Robbers are usually armed.  They are usually in a state of heightened excitement.  It is important to remain as calm as possible, and to keep other people on the premises as calm as possible.
  • Give the robber what he asks for, but do not offer him more than he requests.
  • Carefully observe the robber for identifying characteristics, including: clothing, height, weight, race, hair, eyes, nose, scars, tattoos, accent, etc.  If there is more than one robber, focus your attention primarily on one.  Trying to identify too much may only result in confusion. 
  • Watch carefully for any object that the robber touches. Do not disturb or touch any area that the robber has touched. These areas may provide fingerprint identification.
  • Focus on the weapon for later description to police.
  • Focus on what is taken, where is put, and how it is carried
  • Do not prolong the stay through stalling.  The quicker the robber leaves, the less chance for violence to erupt. 
  • Remember the method of escape.  If the robber enters a vehicle – get a full description, including the license plate number, if possible. 
  • Notify the police immediately.  If a panic button/central station alarm is present - activate it while the robbery is still in progress, if this can be done safely.
  • While waiting for police, write down as many identifying details as possible.  If other people were present, have them do the same, but do not attempt to get a consensus of opinion.  Each witness’s individual opinion of what happened will be of more value to the police and should not be colored by the observations of the other witnesses.
  • Comply with all directions of the police regarding the crime scene and the compiling of lists of stolen controlled substances.
  • When advised by the police that the crime scene is no longer required to be safeguarded notify DEA (see numbers on the right side of the letterhead for the DEA office nearest you), and begin to prepare a DEA Form 106 which you will find a link to by clicking here or on the link below (as per the CFR 1301.76). 
Thank you for your cooperation and doing all you can to keep yourself, your coworkers, and your customers safe!