published Monday, March 7th, 2011

Walgreens in Knoxville battling pain pill robbers

KNOXVILLE — With pain pill robbers sticking up pharmacies everywhere, Walgreens is putting the products in time-locked safes in its Knoxville drug stores as an expansion of a program that has proven to be a success.

Under the eye of security cameras, robbers apparently don’t like having to wait.

Police records show drugstore holdups have dramatically increased in recent years, along with abuse of drugs such as oxycodone.

Knoxville and Knox County officers worked 44 drugstore robberies last year, nearly double the total from the year before.

Walgreens spokesman Robert Elfinger said the pill safes have proven effective in Washington, Oregon and Idaho.

Company officials told The Knoxville News Sentinel that by the time a robber gets the pills, police should be walking through the door.

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