ELKTON — A gunman and his two accomplices remained on the loose Tuesday after robbing an Elkton pharmacy of an “extensive amount” of prescription medication on Monday night – some 12 days after a trio attempted to commit an armed robbery at a nearby pharmacy, police reported.
“We are still trying to determine if the two robberies are related,” said Det. Sgt. Ronald Odom of the Elkton Police Department, which is investigating Monday night’s robbery.
In the latest incident, three black men entered the Walgreens in the 300 block of East Pulaski Highway at approximately 9 p.m. on Monday and approached a worker at the pharmacy counter, according to police.
“One of the suspects brandished a handgun, and they demanded narcotics,” said Odom, who, after declining to specify the drugs that they sought, qualified, “It is fair to say (prescription) painkillers, the stuff that sells out on the streets.”
The pharmacy employee surrendered an “extensive amount” of prescription medication to the robbers, who then ran out of the store, police reported.
Investigators believe that the threesome committed the armed robbery with the main intent of selling the stolen prescription medication on the streets to addicts, instead of using it for their personal use, Odom noted.
“This is not a group of drug addicts stealing narcotics; they are professional robbers and thieves. They knew what they were doing. They were wearing gloves and masks and they were covered from head to toe in dark clothing,” Odom outlined.
Store surveillance cameras videotaped the three suspects during the armed robbery and, as of late Tuesday afternoon, EPD detectives were studying the footage in hopes of identifying them, he reported.
Anyone with information that might help investigators identify the three men involved in Monday’s armed robbery at the Walgreens is asked to call EPD Det. Josh Leffew at 410-398-4200, ext. 40.
The armed robbery at the Walgreens on Monday night has some similarities to an attempted holdup that occurred at the Rite-Aid in the 700 block of East Pulaski Highway, a short distance outside Elkton town limits, nearly two weeks ago.
As of Tuesday, no arrests had been made in that case.
In that incident, three men — dressed in black — entered that pharmacy at approximately 8 a.m on Sept. 9 and approached a store employee, police said. At that time, police added, one of the men brandished a black handgun and instructed the worker to lead them to the pharmacy section.
The men fled from the store, however, after they realized that the pharmacy section was not open for business at that hour, according to Lt. Michael Holmes, a spokesman for the Cecil County Sheriff’s Office, which is investigating that attempted robbery.
They got into a vehicle described as a “tan or silver four-door sedan,” which was last seen heading east on Route 40 toward the Delaware state line, police reported.
Store surveillance cameras videotaped the gunman and his two accomplices, as well as their getaway car, during the attempted robbery, and CCSO detectives have studied that footage.
Showing an interest only in the pharmacy section, the three men who attempted to rob that Rite-Aid did not try to steal money from store cash registers — similar to the three robbers who targeted the Walgreens on Monday night, police noted.
“We are familiar with similar robberies that have occurred in this region recently, and we are looking into the possibility that this is related to those other incidents,” Holmes told the Cecil Whig on Sept. 10, a day after the attempted armed robbery at the Rite-Aid.
It marked the first reported incident of someone robbing or attempting to rob a Cecil County pharmacy in approximately four years. The armed robbery at the Walgreens on Monday night marks the second such incident, after the lull.
According to Cecil Whig archives and court records, there have been a couple of long periods during the past 10 years in which robbers — exhibiting no interest in money inside the cash registers — have stolen or have attempted to steal prescription painkillers and other medication from pharmacies in this county.