BREWER, Maine — The number of Maine pharmacies robbed by those looking for drugs to use or sell has already tripled from just a year ago, and the year isn’t over, Brewer police Lt. Chris Martin said Wednesday.
“I believe we are currently at 39 for the year,” plus or minus one, he said. “This represents a 1,200 percent increase between 2008 and 2011 — 2008 had two and 2011 had 24.”
“Pharmacy Robbery: Prevention and Response” is an educational seminar led by Brewer police to provide those who work in the pharmacy industry with tools to prevent and respond to the crime, which so far has not resulted in any major injuries in Maine, Martin said. The police department will host three seminars at 10 a.m., noon and 2 p.m. Thursday at the Brewer Public Safety Building on Parkway South.
The training is for pharmacists, pharmacy technicians, managers, delivery drivers, loss prevention personnel, and all employees who work in and around pharmacies, Martin said.
“This particular training program has already been offered to approximately 150 members of the Eastern Maine Healthcare Systems who are involved with their various pharmacies, and the feedback we have received was that they found this training very useful,” Martin said.
After Thursday, another 75 people who work in the pharmacy business will have been trained, he said.
The topics to be covered at the Brewer seminars include why pharmacy robberies are on the rise; what motivates criminals and what opportunities they take advantage of; profiles of people who have robbed drugstores in Maine; and what to do during a robbery.
The program will teach people how to react during a robbery. They will be urged to remain calm, pay close attention to the physical appearance of the robber, activate the robbery alarm, call police and provide a good description of the suspect, and protect the crime scene, Martin said.
Robbery prevention techniques that work and what people should know about challenging a stranger are other subjects to be discussed.