Oklahoma drug store owner targeted by ‘meticulous’ thieves

STILLWATER, Okla. — The owner of a Stillwater pharmacy is dealing with the aftermath of a late night break-in months after she was also the target of an armed robbery.

Debbi Hernandez is the owner of Charlie’s Drug on the 700 block of S. Walnut Street. According to Hernandez, roughly $700 was stolen from the store's safe last Thursday, along with narcotics.

“In my cost, it’s $12,000, but on the street, it’s hundreds of thousands of dollars,” Hernandez said. “But yes, it was all of my narcotics and there were some controlled drugs, Xanax we keep in there.”

Hernandez described the thieves as ‘meticulous’, cutting outdoor phone and cable lines which disabled the alarm signals.

“Then they used a crow bar to get into the front door,” she said. “There were four in the video. Two little guys that would kind of case it first to see what was going on and then there were two that came with the crow bar, big guy and a little guy with him.”

Hernandez says the thieves made their way into her store around 11:40 p.m., and the crime lasted about three hours.

"This is really out of the ordinary because they spent quite a bit of time breaking into that safe, and where Charlie’s is located, that’s not a really secluded area. So to get in there, to be there for a while, just watching them on video break into the doors, they weren’t real efficient," Stillwater Police Chief Jeff Watts said. "They were there for a while and the potential for them to get discovered was pretty high. They just got lucky this time."

Midwest City Police Chief Brandon Clabes told News 4 Tuesday, a local pharmacy in Midwest City also reported an attempted break-in last week. According to Chief Clabes, two suspects executed a similar strategy.

Hernandez said she got a call from the store over the weekend.

"It was the same MO. They cut the lines. They used a crow bar to get in and it was a big guy," Hernandez recalled. "It sounds like the same thing. They come in and they take your narcotics because they would sell them."

At this point, however, authorities from both Stillwater and Midwest City say it's too early to say whether these two incidents were related. Watts said the case regarding Charlie's Drug has been assigned to a detective.

"One of the things he’ll be looking at is he’ll be checking to see if any surrounding businesses that may have caught a vehicle or caught other individuals involved arriving or departing the scene," he said. "Then also checking with Midwest City and seeing if any cities in Oklahoma are experiencing similar burglaries that we can tie together."

This isn't the first time thieves have targeted Charlie's Drug Store.

In November, the store was robbed by an unidentified armed suspect. Hernandez said she does not believe the armed robber from November is one of the burglars from last week.

"There’s other pharmacies in town. Unfortunately, I’m the one that seems to be getting picked on right now. Not that I want the others to get hit also but it just seems like they’ve targeted me and I don’t know why. I thought I was a nice person," she said.

The Stillwater Police Department is asking anyone with information about the burglary or were in the area and witnessed any suspicious persons or vehicles to contact authorities at (405) 372-4171.

Anonymous tips can be submitted at (405) 742-8327.

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