Another chemist bears brunt of pill robbers

AMCAL Chemist on Bay Street has become the latest victim in a string of pharmacies robbed in the border region this year.

At least four chemists have now been robbed in separate incidents since late January -- on Bay Street, Leisure Avenue and Wharf Street, Tweed Heads, and at Kirra.

Tweed Heads police Sergeant Brad Lewis said a witness saw a single male offender arrive at the Bay Street, Tweed Heads, chemist in a dark SUV, similar to a Toyota RAV4, about 1am yesterday and kick in the glass front door.

"It appears he kicked in the glass at the front door and has%taken a number of cold and flu tablets that contain pseudoephedrine," Sgt Lewis said.

The robbery follows a separate ram-raid on a Banora Point chemist on April 3, where the offenders also made off with cold and flu tablets containing pseudoephedrine.

On both occasions, the thieves were in and out in a number of minutes, indicating they knew what they were looking for.

Tweed Heads police have arrested a man in relation to another incident, following the theft of boxes of cold and flu tablets from a Wharf Street chemist on March 31.

The first incident this year was on January 26, when a quantity of cold and flu medicine was also stolen from a Kirra chemist in the early hours of the morning.

On that occasion, the offender cut himself extensively while climbing through a fence after the robbery and asked a nearby resident for a lift home.

Pseudoephedrine is an ingredient commonly used in the manufacture of illegal amphetamines.

Many pharmacists now take details of people who purchase non-prescription medications containing pseudoephedrine to keep track of people buying the drug and ensure it is being used legitimately.

Sgt Lewis said there was no description of the man involved in yesterday's robbery and it was unknown whether he worked alone.

It was business as usual at the Bay Street Amcal chemist yesterday, with no sign of a robbery having taken place. Store owner Malcom Choi said it was the first time his shop had been robbed.

He said he was "upset, annoyed and irritated" about the robbery, but he was happy with his shop's security system, which alerted police.

Mr Choi said not much was stolen, as his chemist kept minimum stock of products containing pseudoephedrine to prevent robberies, as part of recommendations from his pharmacy guild.

In early March this year, in separate incidents, two Palm Beach pharmacies were broken into in two days with a quantity of pseudoephedrine taken in both cases.



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