Pharmacies put time delay safe in all Oklahoma Walgreens to help prevent prescription robberies

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ARDMORE, OKLA. More than 800 people died in Oklahoma last year from drug overdoses, according to the Oklahoma Bureau of Narcotics.
Eighty percent of those deaths involved prescription medications.

Law enforcement say the abuse of these drugs is on the rise and leads to other dangerous crimes, including robbery.
One pharmacy is taking measures to prevent prescription robberies and protect its employees and customers.

Last month Walgreens Pharmacies installed time delay safes in all of its Oklahoma stores.
Kristofer Mikelson, District Loss Prevention Manager, says they installed these safes because they saw a decline in pharmacy robberies in other states, already using the safe.

"During a robbery, the C-2 time delay safe is on a timer," Mikelson said. "This is taken from banking and other retail locations that we have seen in other markets. The timer is engaged when the cabinet is open."

The Oklahoma Bureau of Narcotics says robbers tend to steal from pharmacies because the drugs are readily available.
Prescription pain killers can be a quick fix for an addict or can be sold for as much as $60 a pill on the street.
The delay of the safe eliminates that immediate availability.

"There is a great risk involved with this when you make a robbery and there is a time delay safe," Mikelson said. "It adds on extra time to the time frame of the robbery and the police have extra time to get to the store."

Walgreens has placed signs around their pharmacies to warn any potential robbers that they have time delay safes, and hopefully prevent the crime before it ever happens.

"Explain to them that we have a time delay safe, it takes a certain amount of time for that safe to be opened and that is how long it will take for us to get the drugs out for you," Mikelson said.

The idea is that robbers will not want to wait for the safe to open and will leave the store.
The longer wait time would also mean more time to catch potential criminals on video to help identify them.
But that may not always work.

Deandre Morris, Ardmore Walgreens store manager, says if the robber gets violent it is important to just do what they ask.

"if I am approached by a robber I will do exactly what he says because I need to protect the customers, employees and the staff by all means," Morris said.