A Mountainair pharmacy was robbed at gunpoint last week, with thieves making off with thousands of dollars in narcotics.
Owner and pharmacist K.C. West said the armed robbery happened around 1 p.m. last Wednesday.
“This guy comes in and says, ‘Give me your drugs,’ Then this other guy comes in and points a gun to my forehead and said, ‘Hand over your drugs.’”
West said the three men were wearing masks, dark glasses, hoods and gloves. “Even reviewing the tape we were not able to identify any markings,” she said.
The robbers had grabbed Jasmine Varela, who works the soda fountain in the pharmacy, and told her to empty the cash registers, West said.
Meanwhile, pharmacy technician Wanda Maldonado had been in the bathroom. She was able to slip out the back door, West said. “She recognized one of our customers, jumped in his truck and asked him to take her to city hall.”
As soon as the men had gotten the drugs and cash they wanted—with specific instructions on which types of drugs they were taking—they left, West said. “I called 911. Within five minutes after calling 911, Robert Chung, our Chief of Police, came flying in the door with his bulletproof vest on. I was just amazed at the rapidity of his response,” West said.
Law enforcement officers chased the men south but lost them.
While West and her employees were waiting for State Police to arrive, town clerk Suzan Brazil “came over and stayed with us and just talked to us,” West said. “I think that was so cool, that she took that time and talked with us. I was blown away and Jasmine was clearly upset.”
West said she is beefing up security at the pharmacy, and said she is in no hurry to restock her shelves with narcotics.
And while the robbery seemed very planned in some ways, a few things the robbers did left West puzzled. For example, after the robbery was over, the men pulled the cords out from the camera—after the video had already been recorded.
And they took the handset phone at the front of the building, leaving behind another she used to dial 911 as soon as they left. In all, the robbers made off with about $2,000 in drugs and about $380 in cash from the registers, she said.
The response from the community—still reeling from news the day previously that its only grocery store had shut down—was “so supportive, so kind,” West said.
The pharmacy was closed down for the afternoon of the robbery, but opened back up the next morning at 9 a.m., she said.
The pharmacy is adding some grocery items and has a request list at the soda fountain, West said. “It was awful, but nobody got hurt.”