Huge Amount of Oxycontin Taken in Robbery
January 29, 2007
Law enforcement agencies across the area are on alert for a possible surge of a dangerous drug... Oxycontin. Informants are being pressured, rewards are coming forward, and the heat is on to find out who robbed the Berry Pharmacy in New Richmond, Sunday afternoon.
In a story you'll see only on Local 12, investigators are telling our Rich Jaffe that it's one of the largest Oxycontin robberies this area has ever seen.
On the streets, one single 80 milligram Oxycontin pill sells for 80 dollars, one dollar per milligram. Sunday afternoon, a thief hit Berry Pharmacy for a motherload of Oxycontin, more than five thousand tablets worth hundreds of thousands of dollars on the streets.
Chief Dave Willoughby, New Richmond Police: "My biggest fear is that the, with this large amount of Oxycontin being out on the streets, that it will get into the hands of people who don't know how dangerous it is to abuse it, whether they take it by swallowing it, snorting it or injecting it, it could be lethal immediately."
On the market since 1995, Oxycontin is called the heroin of the Midwest. Illegal demand for it has grown in the last few years, since it became tougher to make Methamphetamine.
"Investigators say they believe the owner of the pharmacy was parked behind the shop and when he came out to his vehicle to get something out of it, the thief was hiding behind one of these walls. He came up to the owner, stuck a gun in his ribs, and then forced him back inside into the pharmacy."
Joe Lutmer, Pharmacist: "The criminal is always going to think you have some, so no matter how much you have in stock, I don't think it keeps you safe, they're going to take what you have, they're out for one thing and that is to get the Oxycontin."
At Tischbein Pharmacy in Hyde Park, they have camera's, an alarm system, and a police station two blocks away. With never more than a small amount of Oxycontin on hand, it still puts people at risk.
"If it's taken correctly, Oxycontin will supplement pain management. If it's crushed and snorted and injected, it will kill you."
Rich Jaffe, Local 12.
A spokesman for Purdue Pharma, the company that manufactures Oxycontin, tells us that in the last few years, the company has spent more than 325 million dollars to test and develop drugs that are more abuse resistant. They've also partnered with law enforcement agencies to try and crack down on Oxycontin abuse and robberies. Purdue is offering a one thousand dollar reward through CrimeStoppers for information leading to the arrest of people involved in the New Richmond robbery. If you know anything about it, contact CrimeStoppers at 352-304