Police issue appeal in wake of pharmacy break-in spree

Twelve independent pharmacies targeted since Nov. 2, including two in South Surrey.

Surrey Mounties are reminding independent pharmacy owners to remain vigilant in securing their workplace and property in the wake of a recent spree of break-and-enters across the city and other municipalities.

Cpl. Scotty Schumann said nine of 12 incidents between Nov. 2 and Jan. 18 have occurred in Surrey.

Two of the those targeted South Surrey businesses – the first, on Jan. 9 in the 3200-block of King George Boulevard, and the second, on Jan. 18 in the 15200-block of 32 Avenue.

Both local hits were early morning break-ins. Schumann did not share specifics, but said the modus operandi of all 12 break-ins is similar, and investigators believe they are connected.

“Of note, all the pharmacies are basically independent or smaller pharmacies,” Schumann said Tuesday. “Some of them, the point of entry is a neighbouring business.”

Schumann said the culprits – who have also been at work in Langley and Abbotsford – are mostly targeting safes that are used to store various narcotics. While the time-delay safes and other security measures are proving to be a deterrent, the thieves are making off with other items.

“The narcotics are kept in safes in these places, that’s protecting that commodity, but there’s other things in a pharmacy of value,” he said.

“It’s mostly over-the-counter drugs.”

Surrey’s Property Crime Unit has been working to identify those behind the crimes, and are now appealing to the public for more information.

There are no suspect descriptions as yet, however, police believe at least two people are involved, as well as a variety of vehicles, including a white Ford pickup, a Jeep Cherokee, a silver SUV and an older, blue, four-door sedan.

It’s hoped that sharing what details are known will encourage people who spot anything or anyone out of the ordinary around such businesses in the early morning hours to contact police.

“We’re just trying to alert the public that if they see people (milling) around at odd hours around pharmacies, just to be alive to the fact these (crimes) are occurring,” Schumann said.

While the activity may be deemed harmless, it’s possible an alert citizen’s report “could crack this case wide open.”

To report a crime in progress, call 911. Suspicious activity or other information may also be reported to the detachment at 604-599-0502.


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