HIV needle threat used in Montco, Berks robberies

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Authorities are searching for a thief who is holding up pharmacies in Berks and Montgomery Counties by telling store workers he's armed with a needle infected with the AIDS virus.

Pharmacies in Wyomissing and Lower Pottsgrove Township have already been hit, and authorities believe the same person may have struck again Wednesday in Spring Township, Berks County.

Surveillance video from the Wyomissing robbery shows the thief handing the pharmacy clerk a note demanding prescription pain-killers.

The note also informs the clerk that the bandit is armed with an HIV-infected needle.

"If she did not comply, or made a phone call or did anything other than submit to his demands, he would stick her with a syringe which was allegedly infected with HIV," said Wyomissing Police Chief Jeffrey Biehl, explaining the contents of the note.

The disturbing crime occurred at 4:30 p.m. Sunday at the Rite Aid in Wyomissing.

A few days earlier, surveillance cameras captured images of a man wearing a similar outfit, committing the same crime at the CVS in Lower Pottsgrove Township, using a very similar threat.

"With the demand note, he threatened the pharmacy tech and the pharmacist with that note and made off with drugs," said Lower Pottsgrove Police Lieutenant Michael Foltz.

In both cases, the thief covers much of his face with the hood of his jacket and a pair of sunglasses.

The note used in the Lower Pottsgrove robbery also claimed he was carrying a gun. But neither a firearm nor a syringe was seen during these crimes.

Still, this man's behavior has local investigators very concerned.

"He's unpredictable. He's going to hit again," said Biehl.

"The disturbing part in both cases is that it was broad daylight. Our particular pharmacy is very busy at that hour of day, specifically at that intersection. To pull off a robbery like that is pretty brazen," said Foltz.

Action News has learned that Wednesday afternoon a similar robbery took place at a pharmacy in Spring Township, Berks County. An investigation into that crime is underway.

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pennsylvania, robbery, berks county, montgomery county, AIDS, crime, walter perez
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