Police and pharmacists work to stop robberies

JOHNSON CITY, Tenn. - Blankenship Pharmacy has been on the corner of Elm and Watagua Avenue in Johnson City for the past 50 years.

Pharmacy manager Wayne Copp tells us in recent years they've seen their share of robberies and burglaries. "We've had some attempted break-ins after hours, and we've had some successful break-ins after hours," said Wayne Copp, manager of Blankenship Pharmacy.

Police say Blankenship Pharmacy is not alone. "We are seeing a lot pharmacy robberies and pharmacy burglaries in the Tri-Cities and even on the outskirts," said Lieutenant Debbie Richmond of the Bristol, Tenn. Police Department.

News 5 did some digging and found out since mid-June there have been at least 7 these crimes in our area. One robbery was reported in Bristol, Virginia, one in Bristol, Tennessee, two in Johnson City, one in Kingsport, and one in Church Hill.

One burglary was reported in Greeneville.

Lieutenant Richmond tells us that if pharmacies want to keep burglars away they have to a surveillance system.

Richmond also told News 5 that pharmacies should have a working alarm system and that every employee should greet each customer in order to discern if they have other motives.

It's been two years since thieves hit Blankenship Pharmacy, and the owners believe it's because they keep adding more security cameras.

Police tell News 5 if you're heading to the pharmacy don't be scared, just keep your guard up. "Chances are highly unlikely that you will be there getting your medicine where there is a robbery, but if you are, just be safe," said Richmond.

Detectives tell us that most thieves steal painkillers like oxycodone, hydrocodone, and morphine.

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