A WA pharmacy endures a dramatic siege while across the country, police explain an uptick in Gold Coast pharmacy robberies
Mainstream media reported that police have charged a man over offences related to a four-hour siege at the Pharmacy 777 in Applecross.
WA Today journalist Heather McNeill reports that a man allegedly went to the store, and said “today’s the day”.
He allegedly claimed to have a gun as well as a bomb.
Police were called to the pharmacy at around 4.30pm, and emergency services blocked off local roads.
Tactical Response Group officers then attended the area, though the ABC reports that no shots were fired.
A 29-year-old man was arrested at around 8.30pm and appeared in Court via a phone link from hospital. He has been charged with armed robbery, acting in a manner which could create false apprehension, and being armed in a way which could cause fear.
At the time, Pharmacy 777 worked to assist the pharmacy in following emergency procedures, keep patients informed and to let them know that nearby Pharmacy 777 Applecross Village would stay open later to help patients access their medicines.
“Due to the incident unfolding in the Applecross precinct, Pharmacy 777 Applecross will remain closed until further notice,” Pharmacy 777 stated on social media. “At this time, we can reassure you our team has been evacuated and our key concern is the safety of our local community.”
“Being ready to support the pharmacy owner and staff throughout this ordeal was our key priority,” said Pharmacy 777 Managing Director Kim Brotherson.
“We’re really proud of the Applecross team and of how well they handled this challenging situation. Implementing the necessary protocols and the team staying calm was crucial in ensuring the safety of all and allowing the pharmacy to reopen as quickly as possible for the local community.”
Break-ins on the rise
Meanwhile the Gold Coast Bulletin has discussed an increase in the prevalence of pharmacy break-ins across the area recently.
Reporter Jacob Miley spoke to Gold Coast Detective Inspector Chris Ahearn, who said that criminals were focusing on pharmacies for two major reasons.
“(Thieves) are either targeting sedative-based prescription drugs or drugs with pseudoephedrine … contained in them that they can use to manufacture methamphetamine,” Insp Ahearn told the Bulletin.
“It’s not a new issue … but certainly within these last several months we have seen a spike in chemists being targeted for these types of drugs.”
While a number of the recent crimes have been attributed to younger people, with one teen charged last week over a series of pharmacy break-ins, Insp Ahearn said that it has historically been older people seeking to manufacture methamphetamine who have targeted pharmacies, and that younger people are more likely to be after sedative drugs.
“We’re not seeing any links to some increase in demand for methamphetamine production or indeed a prescription drug market. It’s just the vagaries of crime.”
Regional Investigations Unit detectives have charged an 18-year-old man following a series of incidents in Cannington on the night of 6 April.
It will be alleged that around 7:50pm the man entered a shop on Railway Parade in East Cannington where he threatened staff and demanded cash, police said in a statement. He obtained an amount before running from the store along Crawford Street.
They allege that around 9:10pm, the man entered a restaurant on Cecil Avenue in Cannington where he threatened staff and demanded cash, however left the premises empty handed.
He then attended a nearby pharmacy on Albany Highway where he threatened staff and demanded cash, they said. He attempted to leave the pharmacy with the cash drawer but was apprehended by a store security guard.
Police arrived shortly afterwards and the man was taken into custody. He has been charged with two counts of Armed Robbery and one count of Attempted Armed Robbery.
The Riverine Herald has reported that Zainab Almosawy has been placed on a corrections order over charges including four counts of theft.
Ms Almosawy targeted the Shepparton Chemist Warehouse, visiting it with a co-accused and taking items which she then put under a blanket in a pram. The pair did this twice on September 12, 2019, netting them goods worth $419.75.
They came back on September 27, with Ms Almosawy this time putting goods in a shopping bag before leaving without paying.
They went back again shortly afterwards, and Ms Almosawy put more goods in a bag, which she left on a shelf.
Her co-accused then picked up the bag and left without paying.
Staff were alerted by a customer, but they found none of their stock on Ms Almosawy when she exited the pharmacy.
However, when police attended and searched her car, which was parked nearby, they found 220 items, together valued at $5145.50, as well as $2,015 in cash which was suspected to be the proceeds of crime.
Ms Almosawy was also charged over a theft at Shepparton Woolworths.
She was placed on an 18-month community corrections order, which requires her to address her mental health issues, and ordered to do 50 hours’ community work.