TICONDEROGA — Police continue their search for a man who robbed Ticonderoga’s Rite Aid Pharmacy Thursday night in search of prescription pills.
Ticonderoga Town Police Chief Mark Johns said there were no new developments in the case as of Friday afternoon, less than 24 hours after a male suspect entered the store with a note saying he was armed with a handgun and looking for painkillers.
Although the note said he had a gun, police said a weapon was never wielded during the heist. The man fled on foot in a northerly direction with an unspecified quantity of pills.
Pharmacy robberies have been on the rise across New York, prompting U.S. Sen. Charles Schumer to create the Safe Doses Act.
The legislation takes aim at prescription-drug theft and helps law enforcement combat theft at every point of the supply chain, from drug warehouse to delivery trucks and pharmacies, Schumer said in a statement last month.
Signed into law by President Barack Obama Oct. 8, the Safe Doses Act is aimed at increasing prison time for people who rob pharmacies and creates a new crime specifically targeting theft of medical products.
Essex County Sheriff Richard Cutting, whose department assisted with the manhunt following Thursday night’s robbery, said his department is definitely aware of the increase in prescription drug use and thefts related to drug abuse.
“Obviously pharmacies are where the medications are and in large quantities as opposed to a house,” he said.
But Cutting said medicine cabinets in homes are subject to theft as those seeking pills will often pilfer an entire bottle or at least some of the medication to feed their addiction.
“These are crimes of opportunity,” he added.
Town Police said the investigation is still ongoing and more details will be released as soon as they are available.