On April 27, thieves broke into a Rolesville CVS and stole $17,000 worth of narcotics -- mostly painkillers.
Police say thieves sell the drugs on the street for as much as five times their retail value.
"They take those drugs and sell them on the street," said Sgt. Phillip Trivette of the Rolesville Police Department. "A pill that you may pay a dollar for when you go to buy your prescription, they'll get $5 for."
Raleigh police are also investigating robberies at two Eckerd pharmacies, including one Monday on Wade Avenue where thieves took $20,000 worth of narcotics.
"Not only do you have people using drugs illegally, but then, you have to wonder what they're doing -- if they're using those drugs to support that habit," Raleigh Police Department spokesman Jim Sughrue said. "So it's a crime that certainly reaches into other areas."
Police in Rolesville and Raleigh said the crimes are similar and appear to be the work of professionals.
"These people -- they knew where to go and what to do," Trivette said.
Investigators hope someone will come forward with information.
"(We), as law enforcement, have to take a good hard look at it as well," Trivette said. "It's effecting our community if it's done here."
By law, all narcotics are supposed to be stored in a locked area in pharmacies, but police now say a safe -- versus a locked cabinet -- may be the best option in light of the recent burglaries.
Pharmacists say when this happens, it takes several days re-stock the medication and customers often have to go elsewhere in the meantime to get their prescriptions filled.
The Food and Drug Administration reports prescription drug abuse is up 500 percent in just one year. Hydrocodone, Oxycontin and Vicodin -- each drugs stolen in Wake County pharmacies -- are the most abused prescription drugs in the country.
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