INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. - Pharmacy robberies were cut by nearly half in central Indiana and now criminals are driving across state lines to steal drugs.
In 2015, there were 168 reported robberies at pharmacies. That number dropped to 73 this year, according to the U.S. Attorney's Office of the Southern District of Indiana.
“Right now the risk is really going up for these guys,” said Lt. Craig McCart.
McCart explained how IMPD's commercial robbery unit has been working covertly and closely with federal partners like the FBI, DEA, and the ATF. Plus, the U.S. Attorney's Office is going after these criminals on a federal level. Since last fall, the office indicted 26 defendants.
In a statement to our newsroom, U.S. Attorney Josh Minkler said:
"The heroin epidemic which our state faces directly influences the increase in pharmacy robberies. Our hope is to reduce the robberies through education, prevention and enforcement as well as decreasing the violence associated with them. Working together with our federal and local partners, I am confident we can make a difference."
With these efforts, criminal are targeting other communities to find drugs. Two Indianapolis men were recently arrested in St. Louis for robbing multiple pharmacies, reports our news gathering partners KTVI.
“Initially we saw them going out to Avon, Brownsburg, Anderson Muncie, places close to here. And more recently, we’ve seen them going even further to Louisville, to Cincinnati, to Detroit, to St. Louis," said McCart. “I think these other jurisdictions are probably going to have to do the same kind of thing that we did. And they’re going to have to get on it early. And I think that if they do that they’ll be able to make, you know, have the same success in decreasing these or stopping them that we’ve had.”
Last year, CVS installed time delay safes at more than 150 Indianapolis locations to discourage criminals. Walgreens installed their safes the year before. McCart said that has helped a lot as well.