It's third time unlucky

A BUMBLING balaclava-clad thief smashed his way into the Pottsville Beach Pharmacy yesterday, marking the business' third drug robbery in as many months.

But owners Tania and Colin Murdock say the man, who smashed through a glass door and crawled into the pharmacy just before 2am, failed to steal any pseudoephedrine products, which are used in the manufacture of illegal drugs.

“He did take a small amount of general cold and flu tablets,” pharmacist Mr Murdock said.

When the thief smashed through the glass, the store's alarm was sounded.

Security officers and police arrived at the scene within 15 minutes, but the offender had already fled.

“It was all over in about two minutes,” Mr Murdock said.

“He spent most of the time trying to find the pseudoephedrine cold and flu tablets, then he took a small amount of other product instead.

“We do have CCTV footage but he was wearing a balaclava, gloves and a grey long-sleeved jacket.

“The police came back this morning and had a look at the images.”

The Coronation Avenue pharmacy has been broken into on two previous occasions since June 2009.

“There's been no arrests but all three (incidents) are still under investigation,” Inspector Jim Kain of Tweed/Byron police said.

Following the previous robberies, in which the thieves got away with a number of pseudoephedrine products, Mr and Mrs Murdock decided to upgrade the security of the coveted items.

They are hoping yesterday's failed robbery will serve as a warning to other would-be crooks.

“It's the third break-in in about three months,” Mr Murdock said.

“We have upgraded our security, so I'm hoping now they've got the message they aren't going to get anything any more.”

The business was also hit back in July 2008, when again the thieves took a number of cold and flu products, but none of actually contained pseudoephedrine. “We're paying (insurance) excess every time this happens,” Mr Murdock said.

“Our insurance goes up every year and we're pretty sure this has something to do with it.

“It is annoying.

“It is annoying getting called at 2am to come down here.

“That is the most frustrating part.”

Mrs Murdock said in the past the offenders have smashed their way into the pharmacy using a sledgehammer or by kicking through the glass doors.

Her husband said they had discussed placing bars on the store's windows, but with the business relocating to another Pottsville location in November, they decided there was little point.

“It seems to be the fad at the moment - it's happening everywhere,” Mr Murdock said of the pharmacy raid.

“Hopefully the extra security measures taken inside the store will let them know there is nothing they can easily get.”•  Anyone with information or who may have seen the offender in the area yesterday morning, is asked to call Tweed police on (07) 5536 0999 or Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000.

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