OxyContin Robberies Has Fresno Pharmacies on Edge

FRESNO, Calif. Randy Asai the manager of the Ray Fisher Pharmacy said, "We are concerned about the possibility of this gentleman coming in."

So far the robber has targeted drug and supermarket chain stores. The latest was a Walgreens in Clovis where he demanded and apparently got away with the painkillers OxyContin and Methadone. But success came after trying to rob three other stores first. He left each of those when the pharmacists told him they didn't stock the drugs.

Fresno Police Sgt. Dave Ramos said the repeated efforts show the robber is desperate. "It just tells me he's determined and he's got his mind set on getting that OxyContin."

Police suspect the robber, is an addict who may be taking and selling the pills. He passes a note saying he's armed. Even though he hasn't pulled a gun, police believe he has a weapon.

"Everything that he's done at this point, he's lead us to believe he's armed and obviously he is a danger," said Sgt. Ramos.

And he appears desperate. Addiction specialist Dr. Richard Guzzetta said OxyContin addicts crave the drug like a starving person craves food. "It's a primal drive. It's just a primal drive like hunger. If you were hungry you would stick up a store for a loaf of bread. If you were thirsty you would do whatever you had to do to get a drink of water. It's that kind of primal drive that drives addicts." He said.

Because of that many pharmacies no longer stock the powerful opiate drug. Others limit their supply, and Asai said his pharmacy is taking precautions. "We have all of our security systems, our staff has been briefed and you know what we're as prepared as we can."

So far no one has been hurt, and the robber has in fact left stores where he was turned him away. But Ramos said this robber should be taken seriously. "I recommend that any victim of a robbery cooperate with the demand of the suspect and comply and more than likely that increases their chances greatly of surviving that violent felon."

Police in Fresno and Clovis are coordinating their efforts to find the robber. They have enough surveillance video to know what he looks like, and feel it's just a matter of time until he's captured.

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