Pharmacy owners in the Inland Empire say they’re being targeted by thieves, looking for medications to steal from the big chains and small mom-and-pop stores alike.
After smashing through the front door at Cajon Pharmacy in Redlands last Friday, two burglars were caught on camera hurrying to the back of the store and stuffing trash bags with medications.
Even with the alarm blaring, the man and woman continued to ransack the store for two minutes, the fifth time the owner says the store has been robbed since Thanksgiving.
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"You lose sleep over that every night. You think it can happen again and again,” said owner Khalid Mahfouz.
Mahfouz said the burglars are looking for narcotic medication meant for patients.
"It's hurting the patients, it's hurting the business,” he said. “It shouldn't be this way."
Mahfouz has spent thousands of dollars replacing glass windows and doors. He also has an expensive security system, but nothing seems to stop the burglars so he’s now going to install burglar bars around his business.
"I hate to do it. It's going to seem like a jail here."
The owner of American Surgical Pharmacy recently installed burglar bars. He said his San Bernardino business has been broken into three times since Christmas.
"It's cost me a ton of money," said Eric Clark.
Clark said burglars have stolen upward of $50,000 dollars worth of medication.
He also said he keeps track of pharmacy burglaries and estimates at least a dozen have happened in the Inland Empire over the past few months.
"Rancho Cucamonga, Fontana, and this is all since I found out about mine at Christmas."
Clark believes other pharmacies should also get burglar bars. Mahfouz agreed.
"That's it. It's the last resort."