Northeast Times

York St. will add security measures following robbery and shooting

Er­vis Rrapi, man­ager of York St. Phar­macy, which was robbed Feb. 4. SAM NE­W­HOUSE / STAR PHOTO

After ex­per­i­en­cing the phar­macy’s second rob­bery, the man­ager of York St. Phar­macy in Fishtown plans to ramp up se­cur­ity.

He’s not run­ning scared.

A day after be­ing robbed at gun­point — for the second time — York St. Phar­macy man­ager Erivs Rrapi said he was un­fazed by the in­cid­ent, but will in­stall a new se­cur­ity buzzer door.

“This does not af­fect my busi­ness,” Rrapi said in his Fishtown phar­macy, one day after look­ing down the bar­rel of a gun for the second time in four months. “This does not af­fect my cus­tom­ers. They still get the best ser­vice.”

Ac­cord­ing to po­lice, three black males burst in­to York St. Phar­macy, 2334 E. York St., on Monday, Feb. 4, just be­fore 11 a.m. One of them had a gun.

The men did not pre­tend to be cus­tom­ers when they entered, ac­cord­ing to Rrapi.

Ac­cord­ing to po­lice, they took Rrapi’s wal­let and cell phone and ordered him to empty the cash re­gister, as well as to hand over pre­scrip­tion pills.

One male fired the gun in­to the air as the trio fled on foot down York Street and up Ce­dar Street, ac­cord­ing to po­lice.

Po­lice said that about $1,000 in cash was stolen and es­tim­ated that $30,000 worth of pills were stolen. The ex­act type of drugs stolen was not made pub­lic by po­lice or the phar­macy.

The last rob­bery took place on a rainy even­ing in Novem­ber as Hur­ricane Sandy battered the coast. One of the po­lice-dubbed “phar­macy ban­dits” held up Rrapi and made off with cash and pills in­clud­ing Per­co­cet, Oxy­codone, and Vicod­in.

Two men were ar­res­ted later that month and linked to 18 phar­macy rob­ber­ies in the Phil­adelphia area last year, after po­lice traced a GPS track­ing device stashed in the stolen pills.

After the Novem­ber in­cid­ent, Key Food Pizza, the pizzer­ia across the block from the phar­macy, in­stalled se­cur­ity cam­er­as.

Tiffany Dylan, 24, a cash­ier at Key Food Pizza, said she’s not ac­cus­tomed to think­ing that she works in a dan­ger­ous neigh­bor­hood, but the two rob­ber­ies across the street have star­ted to change that.

“I don’t even like walk­ing around here at night any­more…every­one’s get­ting wor­ried,” she said.

After be­ing robbed for the second time, Rrapi, 31, vowed to take sev­er­al new se­cur­ity meas­ures to pro­tect his busi­ness as well as the neigh­bor­hood.

Those meas­ures in­clude a buzzer se­cur­ity door, more se­cur­ity cam­er­as, a pan­ic but­ton, and the po­ten­tial hir­ing of a se­cur­ity guard.

Ad­di­tion­ally, he said that with­in a week, all the med­ic­a­tions in the store will have GPS se­cur­ity track­ing.

But oth­er­wise, busi­ness is good. Rrapi said that in the two years since York St. opened, it has seen 20,000 cus­tom­ers, and the own­ers are plan­ning to open a new phar­macy at 919 Tyson St. in Lawndale.

“I was raised in Fishtown and Kens­ing­ton, I love this com­munity,” Rrapi said. “It’s not dan­ger­ous. It’s just the ad­dic­tion of nar­cot­ics in the world today is pretty high.”

“I feel good about the com­munity,” Rrapi con­tin­ued. “With all these meas­ures, we’ll feel safe again,” he said.

Po­lice had not an­nounced any ar­rests in the rob­bery as of press-time.

To sub­mit a tip to the Phil­adelphia Po­lice De­part­ment, call 215-686-TIPS (8477) or text PP­DTIP (773847).

Re­port­er Sam Ne­w­house can be reached at 215-354-3124 or at sne­w­house@bsmphilly.com.

You can reach at snewhouse@bsmphilly.com.

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