2 men steal $8,000 in prescription drugs from Walgreens pharmacy

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Police are looking for two men who robbed a Walgreens pharmacy in Edina Monday night, stealing thousands of dollars worth of prescription drugs.

The Edina Police Department sent out several tweets about the robbery, saying the suspects hopped the counter inside the store to steal the drugs, mostly OxyContin (also called oxycodone) – a highly addictive prescription pain reliever that's commonly abused by those addicted to narcotics, the FDA and DEA say.

The robbery happened around 6:15 p.m. Monday at the France Avenue South Walgreens, KARE 11 reports. The unarmed suspects apparently ordered employees out of the way as they filled tote bags with about $8,000 in prescription medication.

The men left on foot, police tweeted. They are described as being about 5-foot-7, and American Indian or Hispanic men. One of them was wearing a Gophers hat, black scarf, a red plaid shirt and gloves, police tweeted, while the other wore a red puffy jacket, hat, Gophers scarf and gloves.


Police told the Star Tribune the men were in the store for about 30 minutes before the robbery and mentioned not having money. They left the store, before coming back and robbing it "take over style," the paper notes.

Police say the men may have also been involved in a robbery at a CVS pharmacy near the University of Minnesota prior to the Edina robbery.


OxyContin and pharmacy robberies

Robbing pharmacies to get regulated prescription drugs like OxyContin is not uncommon. In fact, according to a 2011 pharmacy insurance report, it is one of the fastest-growing types of crimes in the United States.

Theft of OxyContin started to increase in 2000 after the legal distribution of the drug began to increase. According to the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), there were 791 incidents of OxyContin thefts in 2000 – and that number jumped to 1,251 incidents in 2003.

In 2011, the New York Times reported there were more than 1,800 pharmacy robberies in the United States from 2009-2011, noting the robberies were typically done by young men seeking opioid painkillers (like OxyContin) and other drugs, either to sell or because they were addicted to it.

In 2012, there were 10 armed pharmacy robberies in Minnesota, the DEA notes.

Modern Medicine has a list of the top 20 states for pharmacy robberies, in which Wisconsin came in at No. 2. The publication notes in the first five months of 2015, Wisconsin recorded 32 pharmacy robberies – that's more than the 21 robberies reported in all of 2014.

Minnesota did not make the list.

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