by: Greg Suskin Updated:
CLOVER, S.C. - Elizabeth Girard has been a pharmacist for 28 years. After a break-in at her shop Saturday night, she's not sure she can continue.
"I feel violated. I don't feel safe," she said. "It used to be a good profession to be in, a fun profession, helping people. But when you get to the ugly side like this, it's not fun anymore."
The thief broke into the Medcare Pharmacy, on Bethel Street in Clover, late Saturday night.
He was fast. Surveillance video shows the back door of the pharmacy open. A man walks into a dark aisle, takes seven bottles of a generic brand of the anxiety drug Xanax and runs out the same back door. It took 37 seconds.
"They walked over to one particular aisle they were interested in, took what they came to get and got out," Girard said.
Police said the burglar wore gloves and a paintball mask. They showed Channel 9 a field and woods behind the store, where dogs tracked him for a short distance. He dropped several of the pill bottles as he ran off.
Employees told Channel 9 they have to take drastic steps now to protect high-demand prescription meds. They'll remove them from shelves and store them in a locked steel vault.
Police investigators said it worries them to hear a business owner's frustration over crime.
"It's upsetting, but I guess it's motivation for us to do our job. Maybe if we can put this bad guy in jail, she'll have closure and will feel more comfortable about staying with us here in Clover," said Lt. Tanner Davis.
Clover police have twice canvassed an apartment complex behind the store that tracking dogs led them to, but investigators have not been able to identify the burglar.
Over the summer months, there have been at least two crimes in Rock Hill in which someone pulled a gun in a pharmacy and demanded prescription painkillers.
In a third case, someone broke into the south-end pharmacy on Albright Road last month and took painkillers and anxiety drugs. That case remains unsolved.
Police said most drug addicts first become addicted after taking unused pills from a parent's or grandparent's medicine cabinet.
Clover police urged people who have unused drugs at home to safely dump them at one of the pill drop boxes stationed around the county. They can be found at every law enforcement office, as well as some retail stores. Those boxes have collected more than a million pills since they were installed.
Anyone who knows anything about the crime at Medcare Pharmacy in Clover is asked to call York County Crimestoppers at 877-409-4321.