PHILADELPHIA, Pa. (CBS) – With the FBI assisting, Philadelphia police set up a special task force to end a string of drug store robberies.
Police say six of the seven cases are connected.
“We have a solo male who’s waiting for the employees to arrive at the store,” Lt. John Walker with the Philadelphia Police Department explained.
Police say the man, caught in several surveillance pictures, is wanted for robbing a CVS pharmacy in Manayunk on Christmas morning. The same CVS pharmacy was robbed again Monday by three other men.
Lt. Walker added that the robbery happened later in the day, while the store was open with three males that police believe are not connected.
They may not be connected but still concerning, considering the man from the Christmas morning robbery is believed to be responsible for robbing five CVS pharmacies and one Rite Aid since August in Yeadon, Landsdowne and Philadelphia.
“Tells them it’s a robbery and tells them to come into the store, turns the alarm off and locks the door. While in the store, the male takes them to the safe that’s contained inside the store,” Lt. Walker said.
Police say the suspect orders his victims to get cash out of the safe then stuff it into a black backpack. Police say the suspect then runs out of the store through a back door. According to investigators, in at least two of the robberies, the suspect wore a light-colored Rocawear jacket with fur around the hood and the number “99” on the back. In all of the robberies, he used a silver handgun to threaten his victims. No one’s been hurt yet.
“He is armed and he’s made no threats yet. But being in a business by himself with a person, our concern is that employees may get nervous at one point and he may get more aggressive at one point,” Lt. Walker explained.
So police are encouraging drug store employees to open and close with a partner. Police are urging the public to be on the lookout for anyone acting suspiciously around drug stores during opening hours. In addition, police are asking anyone with information about the robberies or the suspect to call 911 immediately.
Police describe the suspect as a black male in his mid to late 20s, about 5’10’’ to 6’ tall with a medium complexion, thin build and a goatee.
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Reported by Elizabeth Hur, CBS 3