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BREWER POLICE DEPARTMENT’S. Pharmacy robbery prevention AND RESPONSE. BREWER POLICE DEPARTMENT. Captain Christopher M. Martin 207-989-7003. Motive for crime

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brewer police department

Captain Christopher M. Martin



Motive for crime

Pharmacy robberies are typically committed by young men seeking opioid painkillers and other drugs to sell or to feed their own addictions.


- Increased number of pharmacies and hours of operation.

- Relatively quick to plan and can be rapidly executed (standard designs /methods of operation).

in maine armed pharmacy robberies increased 1200 between 2008 and 2011
In Maine armed pharmacy robberies increased 1200% between 2008 and 2011

According to BDN as of October 2012 half of Maine Pharmacy Robberies were at Rite Aids

2008 Maine had 2 Pharmacy Robberies

2011 Maine had 24 pharmacy robberies

*As of 10/23 Maine has had 46 pharmacy robberies *

(38 solved – 82.6% cleared rate)

In 2011 633 armed pharmacy robberies were reported to the U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency in which Schedule II drugs were taken.

robbery prevention and awareness training
Robbery prevention and awareness training

This program is a detailed look at the Crime of Robbery and how it effects pharmacy business.

  • What is a Robbery?
  • Characteristics of Robbery
  • What should I do during a Robbery?
  • What to do after a Robbery?
  • Robbery Prevention Techniques and objectives
what is a robbery
What is a ROBBERY?

“ROBBERY” means the taking of money or other property which may be the subject of larceny from the person or custody of another, with intent to either permanently or temporarily deprive the person or the owner of the money or other property, when in the course of the taking there is the use of force, violence, assault, or putting in fear.

two critical things
Two Critical Things
  • Robbers want one thing – your property, in the case of pharmacy robberies they want drugs – and they want them quickly
  • Robbery is a risky business and robbers are usually nervous. Delay increases the potential for violence. Give the robber what he/she wants quickly. DO NOT risk your life or another person’s life for property.
characteristics of robbery
Characteristics of Robbery
  • Socio-economics status of Business Neighborhood is not a factor!
  • More attractive the business = more frequently Robbed
  • The DOLLARS lost from Robbery do not hurt the business…Employees, customers and business status are hurt
characteristics of a robber
Characteristics of a ROBBER
  • Robbers are usually Male (majority are under 25 years of age)
  • Repeat offenders/record of violence
  • Will ROB for small amount and repeat offense to accumulate a larger amount
  • Most business ROBBERS are strangers to their victim
  • Use threat of force and violence to neutralize resistance of victim
r e a c t
  • Remain calm
  • E ye witness, pay attention to descriptors of suspect
  • Activate Robbery Alarm
  • C all police and provide a good description
  • Take charge and protect the crime scene

PRACTICE this REACT response with employees

what should i do during a robbery
What should I do during a Robbery?
  • Cooperate with the Robber, give them exactly what they want
  • WEAPONS or implied weapons should be treated as REAL and LOADED
  • Do not make loud noises or sudden moves
  • Give bait/decoy, even if told not to!
  • Try to alert other employees, use “Code Words”
  • ACTIVATE ALARM A.S.A.P., but safely!
what should i do during a robbery1
What should I do during a Robbery?
  • Observe and Identify Weapon (type, size and color)
  • Remember – consider all weapons real and loaded!
be a good witness
Be a Good Witness
  • Suspect: height, weight, gender, race, clothing, scars, tattoos, shoes
  • Focus on what is taken, where it is put, how it is carried
  • Keep demand note, if applicable
  • Prepare a brief synopsis of the event for when the police arrive
  • Inventory of drugs to document what was taken (bottles of commonly abused drugs like Schedule II should be marked and lot #’s recorded)
  • Police will need immediate access to camera system
what should i do during a robbery2
What should I do during a Robbery?

***Observe and Identify Vehicle ***

  • Color/Make/Model/Old or New
  • License Plate (State, Color, Number)
  • Unusual Characteristics or Body Damage
  • Direction of Travel
what to do after the robbery
What to do After the Robbery



what to do after a robbery
What to do After a Robbery

*** DO NOT CALL***



what to tell the 9 1 1 operator
What to tell the 9-1-1 operator
  • “We have just been Robbed”
  • “A Robbery has just occurred at our business”
  • Identify Yourself
  • Stay on the Phone
  • Answer Questions about the Robbery
    • Descriptions of Robbers
    • Weapons
    • Injuries
    • How long ago
    • Vehicles and direction of travel
what to do after a robbery protect the crime scene
What to do After a Robbery:Protect the Crime Scene
  • Lock all the doors
  • Calmly tell customers that a Robbery has just occurred
  • Stop all business transactions
  • Ask all witnesses to stay until Police arrives
  • DO NOT touch anything in the Robbery area
  • Do not allow customers, friends, or media into business until Law Enforcement arrives
what to do after the robbery record observations
What to do After the Robbery:Record Observations
  • Do not compare observations with other witnesses
  • Write down exactly what you remember
forensic evidence
Forensic Evidence
  • Make note of everything the suspect touches, especially if not wearing gloves. This may leave fingerprint and/or DNA evidence. Point out these areas to police.
  • Incorporate procedures where commonly touched areas like countertops and doors are cleaned frequently.
robbery prevention techniques
Robbery Prevention Techniques

Be Alert to Suspicious Customers

  • Robbers usually “case” their target
  • Loitering in store or parking lot, same car keeps driving by
  • Early shoppers? Tries to keep you later?
  • Acts nervous or “just not right”
  • Make sure camera system is working
  • Call Law Enforcement
  • Greet each customer. Good customer service discourages hesitant robbers and thieves.
  • Place height markings along the vertical frame at the entrance and near service areas.
  • Use a quality camera/recording system. Positioned at front door, pharmacy counter. Clear frontal view of suspect’s face (eye level). Cameras in parking lot.
challenging strangers
“Challenging Strangers”
  • Rule: Everyone who enters store should know that all employees are watching.
  • When you “challenge” a stranger, you do not have to be rude or threatening. Be polite and assertive. The best thing to do is to ask the person, “Can I help you find something?”
robbery prevention techniques1
Robbery Prevention Techniques:
  • NEVER block the view into your business
  • Cashier area should be easily seen from outside
  • Allow employees to see entire store, low displays, clear partitions, convex mirrors
  • Keep all entrances, exits and parking areas well lit
  • NEVER open or close in the DARK alone! Leave lights on inside and outside after closing
robbery prevention techniques good employee hiring techniques
Robbery Prevention techniques:Good Employee Hiring Techniques
  • Robbers can be past employees
  • Complete application process
  • Photo-copy of Driver’s License- Photo ID
  • Photo-copy of Social Security Card
  • Photo all employees
    • Discourages dishonest employees
    • Assist law Enforcement with ID
  • Check references of prospective employees. Do a thorough background check of previous employers. Check criminal history.
  • Keep a file on all employees, including their pictures. (Past employees know store procedure and sometimes share this information with others to aid in criminal activity)
  • Re-key locks and alter safe combinations when employees are dismissed for cause.
robbery prevention techniques opening and closing
Robbery Prevention Techniques:Opening and Closing


  • Use two people and check surroundings for suspicious people/vehicles
  • Check business for signs of break in, never enter, always call police
  • Use visible door, not hidden entrance
  • All employees lock themselves in until the store opens
robbery prevention techniques opening and closing1
Robbery Prevention Techniques:Opening and Closing


  • Lock all doors at closing hour
  • Never open doors after hours to strangers
  • Check entire building for suspicious/hiding people
  • Pleasantly escort last customers to the door and lock it behind them
  • Use two people
  • Follow opening safety rules in reverse
  • If called back after closing, let someone know you are going and verify all Police initiated calls
robbery prevention techniques2
Robbery Prevention Techniques:
  • If it is possible place a greeter by the front door
  • Enforce a policy of no hats/no sunglasses
  • Install security cameras outside of store to cover parking lot area and back/sides
  • Install a security camera at the front door about 5 1/2 to 6 feet high to catch facial shot of suspect leaving
  • Switch up procedures for bait pharmaceuticals
  • Look at possibility of installing double security doors at entrance
robbery prevention techniques alarms
Robbery Prevention Techniques:Alarms

Different from Burglar alarms

EMPLOYEE activated

Multiple points of access to “panic” buttons

Alerts Police

Deterrent to Robbery when existence is advertised

Easy access to activate

All employees should be trained to use all security systems

Management should be responsible for maintenance of security system


“Controlled Substances in Time Release Safe”

No hats, no facial covering

No backpacks

robbery prevention benefits
Robbery Prevention Benefits
  • Reduce incidents of Robbery
  • Makes a safer place to work and shop
  • Enhance Public and Internal Image
  • Reduce Employee Turnover
  • Enhance Sales and Profits
  • Leadership Role in Crime Prevention
  •  Not keeping the demand note (we are losing valuable evidence, and often times the witness/victim cannot remember specifically what was communicated. )
  • Review strategies for how to keep note without being obvious, confirm the robbery with a statement to the effect of “Are you robbing me?”  A response to this will provide good evidence meeting the elements of a robbery as opposed to a theft, especially if we don’t have the note or one wasn’t presented.
  • Not challenging strangers/suspicious customers. In several of these recent cases, the suspect was in the store prior to the actual event, not really shopping, and displaying behaviors what could/should have been challenged by employees “Can I help you find something”. 
  • Countertops were not routinely wiped down. Recommendation was every 15 minutes to clean and wipe down countertop area with alcohol based cleaner to allow for greater likelihood of collection of latent print and/or DNA in event of robbery.
  • Security cameras not working or in not place. In one case, the exterior cameras on one side of building were not working, which was the side that the suspect fled from.  Makes it difficult to see any vehicles and/or direction of travel.  Recommendation for placement of covert security camera at face level, pointing at nose area. 
  • Rather than waiting for the media to report that another robbery has occurred, go on the record and promote the fact that the crimes being committed are being solved, to get the word out there that pharmacies are hard targets and the likelihood of success for a crime committed is not very good. 
closing thoughts
Closing Thoughts…

Solving crimes prevents future ones from occurring.

Thank you.