Cops: Rite Aid’s GPS device helped nab pill robbers

Posted: November 13, 2012

LUCK RAN OUT Monday night for a pair of armed bandits who police say may be responsible for a rash of pharmacy robberies in the Northeast after they allegedly unwittingly swiped a bottle of pills embedded with a GPS tracking device.

Police said the pair robbed a Rite Aid on Roosevelt Boulevard near Solly Avenue in Rhawnhurst at gunpoint around 9:30 p.m. and took off with pain pills, as robbers have in several similar incidents over the last few months.

But Rite Aid and police outsmarted the pair: The pharmacy, investigators said, had placed a GPS tracking device in at least one of the pill bottles the gunmen stole, giving cops a way to track them down.

Immediately after the robbery, police began tracking the location of the unwitting drugstore bandits as they drove down the Boulevard toward Tacony. Within a half-hour, cops moved in on the suspects behind a house on Torresdale Avenue near Unruh, said Chief Inspector Scott Small.

There, police arrested the pair, found two guns and recovered the narcotics believed to be stolen from the Rite Aid, Small said. Cops were also holding an SUV they believe the men used as a getaway car.

"They're going to look at these individuals for other related point-of-gun pharmacy robberies in the Northeast," Small said.

Recent similar robberies in the area include an Oct. 17 holdup of Stanwood Pharmacy on Bustleton Avenue near Stanwood Street and a Sept. 29 robbery of a Rite Aid at Academy and Byberry roads.

As of 11 p.m. Monday, Small said cops were awaiting a warrant at the house in Tacony. Both suspects remained in police custody.

Follow Morgan on Twitter @morganzalot


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