UPDATE: Pharmacy robberies shed light on bigger problem - WQOW TV: Eau Claire, WI NEWS18 News, Weather, and Sports

UPDATE: Pharmacy robberies shed light on bigger problem

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MADISON (WKOW) -- A string of pharmacy robberies in our area brings attention to an on-going problem with prescription drugs. While a Walgreens in Janesville was targeted Thursday morning, there have been other pharmacy robberies in Madison over the past several weeks.

 On Dec. 4, the Walgreens on Mckee Rd. was robbed by a masked man demanding OxyContin. The pharmacist said the man passed a note, demanding the prescription drug.

On Nov. 27, the Walgreens on Cottage Grove Road was robbed by a suspect who demanded the employee put Oxycontin in a bag and place it in the drive-thru drop-box. "These are very serious crimes," Madison Police Dept. Spokesman Joel DeSpain said. They may also indicate a bigger problem.

"Prescription drugs are the biggest issue. If you look at the drug poisoning numbers -- it's about 82 percent of the deaths are resulting from prescription drugs," said Cheryl Wittke of Safe Communities. "It's now our number one cause of injury death exceeding traffic crashes so it's really significant," she said about Dane County. That can sometimes translate into more crime.

DeSpain said, "Well, you have probably someone who's very addicted, who desperately needs to get the drug. There's also the possibility that we have people who are trying to get Oxycontin to resell it on the streets." Though a weapon wasn't displayed during the Madison robberies, an implication has police investigating the incidents as armed robberies.

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JANESVILLE (WKOW) -- Janesville police respond to a robbery at Walgreens.

It happened about 5:25 a.m. on Thursday on the 1700 block of Milton Avenue in Janesville. Store employees reported a male suspect walked to the pharmacist with a note and demanded Oxycodone. The pharmacist complied with the note and turned over an undisclosed amount of Oxycodone.

Officers searched for the suspect, but they were not able to find him. No weapons were displayed and there were no injuries.

Police say they're looking for a white, male about 5'10'' with a medium build. The suspect was wearing an orange coat with a large hood with light blue jeans.

Police say the suspect is between 30 to 40 years old.

Anyone with information should call the Janesville Police Department at (608) 755-3100 or the Janesville Area Crimestoppers at (608) 756-3636.

Madison police describe two similar incidents in their online reports. On Dec. 4, the Walgreens on Mckee Rd. was robbed by a masked man demanding OxyContin. The pharmacist said the man passed a note, demanding the prescription drug and made a threatening statement.

On Nov. 27, the Walgreens on Cottage Grove Road was robbed by a man who demanded the employee put Oxycontin in a bag and place it in the drive-thru drop-box.

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