Multiple Tri-State police departments have spent the week coordinating to find suspects in a string of robberies involving suspects who entered CVS Pharmacies with notes threatening violence and requesting payment in the form of pills.
It could be a string of crimes committed by connected culprits, Franklin Police Chief Russ Whitman said. It could also simply be that, in an epicenter of the nationwide opioid crisis, pharmacies' store of pills and cash comprise an increasingly appealing score for dealers and users.
"The opioid addiction, heroin or pain medication, is throughout society," Whitman said. "It's not just one demographic. It's everywhere."
The most recent CVS robbery took place late Wednesday in Anderson Township. Two men passed a note demanding prescription medications and implying they had a firearm at the store on Beechmont Avenue.
Early Tuesday morning, a CVS on Breiel Boulevard in Middletown was also robbed by a man who passed a note to the cashier indicating that he was armed and ready to become violent if he did not walk out with the pills he'd requested. That same Middletown location was also robbed on March 29.
The Franklin robbery to which Whitman's department responded on March 28 also involved a note and a threat of violence. The suspect escaped with drugs, according to Whitman.
"There are definitely similarities" between the incidents, Middletown Lt. Scott Reeve told The Journal-News. "It may not be the same people, but they could be working together."
However, why CVS stores specifically?
“That is something we might find out when we make an arrest,” Reeve said.
Whether or not the robberies are genuinely related, collaboration between police departments could help law enforcement officials find solutions and identify culprits, Whitman said.
"We are reaching out to others and working as a team to get these solved," he said.