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Cops: Hicksville pharmacy targeted again

From the first of two robberies at Harry's

From the first of two robberies at Harry's Pharmacy and Surgicals, Nassau Police investigate the scene in Hicksville. (July 1, 2013) Credit: Howard Schnapp

Burglars smashed the glass door of a Hicksville pharmacy and stole thousands of dollars in pharmaceuticals Sunday -- the second time in three months the business has been targeted, authorities said.

A burglar used a cinder block to break the glass at Harry's Pharmacy on South Broadway about 4:10 a.m., Nassau police said in a news release Monday.

Store owner Harry Vutukuri said surveillance cameras showed two burglars, who crouched to avoid motion detector alarms. One was at the front door as a lookout, he said, while the other searched the shelves, taking powerful pain narcotics, including oxycodone and Vicodin, that were waiting to be inventoried before being placed in secured cabinets.

"They were desperate for medication," Vutukuri said. "Who would get up at 4 or 4:30 to get drugs?"

No one knew the premises had been burglarized until an employee arrived about 10 a.m. to open the store, Vutukuri said.

One burglar was cut on the hand or an ear during the break-in because blood was left behind, including a bloody fingerprint on a medicine bottle, he said.

Detectives gathered evidence and are still looking for the man who robbed the pharmacy July 1. He wore a surgical mask, and stole 10 to 15 bottles of narcotics after putting a gun to an employee's head, prompting Vutukuri to hire security for a few days.

But this time, Vutukuri said he's unsure what else he can do, beyond putting metal grills over the door and adding other components to his security system.

"I cannot do anything more than that," Vutukuri said. "It is a very tough situation. We are not a big-time business."

The businessman said independent pharmacies are being targeted by criminals who want prescription drugs, and Sunday's burglary has made him think twice about remaining in business.

He stopped at the store three times Sunday overnight to check on it and also watched the store off-site through his webcam.

But if running the business means keeping a 24-hour guard, Vutukuri said he won't be able to stay open: "If that is the case, it is better for us to go out of business."

Anyone with information on the burglaries may call Nassau County Crime Stoppers at 800-244-TIPS. Callers may remain anonymous.

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