Knox County Sheriff - Sheriff J.J. Jones
Knox County Sheriff News
Majority of Pharmacy Robberies Solved
It may seem like every time you look at a newspaper or watch a newscast that yet another pharmacy has been robbed of prescription medication. Pharmacy robberies are on the increase, but the good news is that the majority of them are being solved. Lieutenant Clyde Cowan of the Major Crimes Unit credits the high solvability rate to cooperation between law enforcement agencies. “The Knox County Sheriff’s Office is part of a Task Force with the FBI and the Knoxville Police Department. Working together helps us expand our resources and put more officers to work on these robberies.”
The statistics tell the story: in 2008, there were 3 pharmacy robberies; in 2009 the numbers rose to 10; in 2010 there were 20, with 16 solved; and in the first few weeks of 2011 there have been 3 robberies with 2 solved. Lieutenant Bobby Hubbs, who compiles crime statistics for the Sheriff’s Office, calls the increase the “ripple effect.” “Tennessee is one of states that prescribes the most pain medicine,” he said. “As a result of this high level of use, when the supply of pain medication ends then many people resort to presenting a note to a pharmacy demanding pain pills.”
Chief Robert Waggoner believes that many of the “pill mills” in other states that have been shut down recently have also led to an increase in pain medication robberies in our area. He said that increased cooperation and communication between law enforcement agencies have been the key in solving these crimes.