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Police trying to track down criminals using kids to rob pharmacies

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INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. (Sept. 24, 2015) - Police continue to investigate a series of pharmacy robberies where kids and teens are being sent in to steal prescription drugs. An 11-year-old boy was caught earlier in the week after he tried to rob a Walgreens.

"You're sending a young child in there to do your dirty work," said Officer Chris Wilburn with IMPD.

In a matter of 24 hours seven area pharmacies were robbed or came close to it. Investigators are working to determine if any of the incidents could be connected. They also want to find the adults who they believe are using kids to commit the crimes.

"What these crimes are displaying is the vulnerability of the children, I mean that's in essence you're sending a child in there because you don't want to get caught and you don't want to do the time for the crime," said Officer Wilburn.

IMPD officials also met with representatives from area pharmacies on Wednesday. Details about the discussion during that meeting are not being disclosed.

Crime Stoppers of Central Indiana released two photos showing young suspects involved in two separate incidents. One picture shows a young suspect believed to be anywhere from 16 to 20-years-old as he robbed a Walgreens at 86th Street and Michigan. Police say he handed a note to the pharmacist, demanded drugs and implied that he had a gun.

Another photo shows a young suspect who robbed a Walgreens in the 500 block of E. Thompson Road. Reports indicate he handed a note to the pharmacist that said he had a bomb. In both instances the suspects demands for drugs were met.

"We have to teach our children emotional intelligence. You know I don't care who is asking you to do what, go talk to an adult, go tell them hey you know this person is wanting me to do this, I know this isn't right. I don't care what your environment is, you can make the right decision," said Ontay Johnson, Executive Director of 100 Black Men of Indianapolis.

IMPD reports there have been somewhere around 150 pharmacy robberies so far this year. Indiana is currently leading the nation in pharmacy robberies according to the DEA.

Anyone with information about these crimes is encouraged to call Crime Stoppers at 317-262-TIPS.