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'Such an alarming volume': Local pharmacist concerned about increase in pharmacy robberies

Bryan Langel believes robberies are happening so frequently that police are unable to follow up with all of them
Stock photo from Shuttestock

A local pharmacist is raising the alarm about an increase in crimes happening in pharmacies.

"The Waterloo Regional Police Service, I believe, is doing the best they can to combat this. Unfortunately, I think it's happening at such a rate, such an alarming volume that they're having trouble keeping up and being able to follow up with every single incident that gets reported," said Bryan Langel, a pharmacist and associate owner at a Shoppers Drug Mart in Cambridge.

Langel said he's seen this happen since the start of the pandemic -- from petty crimes to brazen robberies.

"They show you that they're taking it. They walk right past you. You try to engage them, nothing happens. These are people that are not necessarily unknown to us either. These are people that we've already trespassed them from the store," he said.

Lagel said people aren't taking food items. They're taking "unnecessary" things like fragrances and his pharmacy has a no touch, no pursue policy.

He said it puts staff at higher alert.

"Especially because we're dealing with so much other stressors because of the pandemic, with the increased workload and the decreasing availability of staff due to COVID-related illnesses. This is just another stressor that puts further risk on my staff and the healthcare professionals I employ."

He said he's also noted an increase in robberies of medication the past two weeks. 

This comes after a recent warning from police to pharmacy owners

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