The gun-toting thugs suspected of holding up two family-run pharmacies in San Francisco last week were hunting for oxycodone pills, a prescription drug that fetches top dollar on the streets, police said Thursday.
The Police Department has released video surveillance footage of the broad-daylight stickups, hoping the public will help identify the bandits. Images and video can be seen at www.sanfranciscopolice.org.
Both robberies occurred Jan. 14, with the first incident reportedly happening about 1:45 p.m. at the Clement Pharmacy at 1922 Clement St. in the Outer Richmond district. Pointing a handgun at a 49-year-old employee, the suspects ordered him to the floor before snagging both prescription and over-the-counter medicines.
Then about 6:40 p.m., police said, a similar robbery occurred at the Golden Gate Pharmacy at 1844 Noriega St. in the Outer Sunset district. Two men reportedly stormed in with a gun, ordered employees to the floor and demanded drugs from a 53-year-old female employee. The employee directed one of the robbers to a cabinet that held prescription drugs. The crooks filled a backpack with those drugs and also pilfered over-the-counter medicines.
In both incidents, “the suspects took several medications with the word ‘oxy’ on the label,” police said Thursday. Those pills have a high resale value, Officer Carlos Manfredi said, going for as much as $20 a pill on the black market.
“With 75 pills in a bottle, you’ve made yourself quite a bit of profit,” Manfredi said.
Such robberies appear to be increasing nationwide. Earlier this month, New York City police said they would add tracking devices to bottles to battle the thefts.
“We need to monitor this,” Manfredi said. “If it becomes a bigger epidemic [in The City], we may have to change our plan of attack.”
The crooks likely hit the stores during the daytime to avoid crowds of customers, police added.
One of the suspects was described as a thin black man in his early 20s, between 5-foot-8 and 5-foot-10 with a pudgy nose. He was possibly wearing an Oakley baseball cap, black ski jacket and dark pants, and had a blue backpack. He also might be left-handed, police said. The second suspect also was described as a thin black man in his early 20s who was wearing a dark ski jacket, dark sneakers and black-and-white gloves.
Anyone with information on these incidents is encouraged to contact police at (415) 553-1201.