Reminder to lock up shop after pharmacy robbery

One Sydney pharmacist learnt the hard way after a robber took the opportunity to demand codeine, Oxycontin, and cash

The pharmacist had arrived at her place of work, Sydney Cove Chemist in The Rocks, shortly before 9am on 26 October 2013 and decided to make coffee in an upstairs room, since it was not yet time to open the pharmacy for customers.

She left her handbag on the counter and the lights off.

Peter Hayek, 53, found the pharmacy unlocked and entered dressed in black clothing and wearing black gloves, according to a transcript of the Supreme Court of NSW proceedings.

Mr Hayek told the court that his decision to rob the pharmacy was “an impulsive one” and he had stolen some gloves prior to entering the pharmacy.

He accosted the pharmacist demanding “codeine, Oxycontin, and money” and added, “I don’t want to hurt you but I will if I have to.”

Mr Hayek took money from the pharmacy’s safe, till and the pharmacist’s handbag.

He also filled a shopping bag with codeine, methadone, oxycodone, buprenorphine, morphine, pethidine, flunitrazepam, alprazolam and diazepam, telling the pharmacist he had a drug problem.

“Sorry, I don’t want to do this, but I have a habit and the doctors won’t give me the drugs so I have to do this,” he told her.

When leaving the pharmacy carrying the drug-filled bags, Mr Hayek was seen by a customer standing outside the pharmacy waiting for it to open, who then alerted a police officer on foot patrol.

He was pursued but eventually caught by the police officer, and found in possession of a large quantity of cash and stolen drugs valued in excess of $2000.

The $100 taken from the pharmacist’s handbag was later found in Mr Hayek’s sock.

Mr Hayek was charged with supply and possession of prohibited substances and robbery, and in 2015 was sentenced to six years imprisonment with a non-parole period of four years.

His application for appeal was refused on 29 June 2016, after the judge found the prison sentence an appropriate length of time for his offence.

The judge also noted that Mr Hayek had continued to use prohibited drugs since the age of 14, despite many opportunities he had been provided over the years to take advantage of rehabilitation programs.

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