Watch CBS News

Burglars suspected of breaking into nearly 2 dozen pharmacies across NYC, police say

Burglars suspected of breaking into more than 2 dozen pharmacies across NYC, police say
Burglars suspected of breaking into more than 2 dozen pharmacies across NYC, police say 02:06

NEW YORK -- Police are trying to track down a group of burglars they say broke into almost two dozen pharmacies across New York City.

They smash the glass door and run right in. The NYPD says the burglars captured on video dressed in all black have the same M.O. They enter pharmacies while they're closed and are even able to easily bypass a metal gate if they have to.

They've broken into 20 pharmacies in Queens, Brooklyn and Staten Island. The crime spree started on July 27 and the most recent incidents happened on Saturday.

Police said they work in pairs or more and have fled in a black SUV, a white vehicle, or a gray BMW.

"They made off in under five minutes, I believe. Yeah, under five minutes. It was very calculated. They came right in and right out," one pharmacist said.

Police said the thieves are stealing prescription drugs.

"They're Schedule 2 medications, the Adderall the Vyvanses, a lot of the pain medications like oxycodone, hydrocodone, all of those medications. Some of them are sleeping medications as well," the pharmacy owner said.

The owner of the pharmacy told CBS New York the prescription drugs were stolen from a locked area and that sales of the drugs would probably net the thieves $20,000 or more.

Other pharmacists note the risk in the illegal sale of the meds.

"Very dangerous, because they're not using it for a legitimate medical purpose. So we don't know if they could be overdosing or just giving it to people they know," one said.

"You're looking at dangers in terms of addiction, even death," another said.

They said it seems like thieves have moved on from targeting bigger chain pharmacies that can afford security guards to mom-and-pop pharmacies.

"Some stores might have weaker security than a CVS simply because we cannot afford to pay for a stronger security mechanisms," a pharmacist said.

"This is a loss to the business and also the customers who really need the medications," a pharmacist said.

In at least once instance a credit card machine and money was also stolen. In three of the incidents, police say the suspects were unable to take anything.

Anyone with information about the crime spree is asked to call the NYPD's Crime Stoppers hotline at 1-800-577-TIPS (8477), or for Spanish, 1-888-57-PISTA (74782). You can also submit a tip via their website or via DM on Twitter, @NYPDTips. All calls are kept confidential.  

View CBS News In
CBS News App Open
Chrome Safari Continue
Be the first to know
Get browser notifications for breaking news, live events, and exclusive reporting.