Pharmacist Raju Rapaka is reinforcing his Toolooa Street store after Friday's break-in. Picture: Rodney Stevens
Pharmacist Raju Rapaka is reinforcing his Toolooa Street store after Friday's break-in. Picture: Rodney Stevens

Drug-making meds stolen in Gladstone chemist smash-and-grab

Stimulants used to manufacture illegal drugs including speed and ice were stolen in a smash-and-grab break-in at a Toolooa Street pharmacy last week.

Blooms the Chemist Pharmacist and manager Raju Rapaka said the store's alarm sounded just after 1am on Friday.

"Members of the public who heard the alarm contacted police who notified me very quickly," he said.

"I went to the store, but I wasn't allowed inside as it was a crime scene.

"Then the police gave me some gloves to preserve fingerprints and I went in and showed them what went missing."

 

Blooms the Chemist on Toolooa Street at South Gladstone. Picture Rodney Stevens
Blooms the Chemist on Toolooa Street at South Gladstone. Picture Rodney Stevens

 

Mr Rapaka said Pseudoephedrine products available over the counter, a few other items and a small amount of cash was stolen.

"It all happened in two minutes," he said.

"They smashed the door and got in and grabbed all the Pseudoephedrine products opportunistically and grabbed whatever they could on their way out.

"We were very lucky it didn't happen while we were working, we could have had a lot of damage and it could have hurt my girls, so I feel very lucky.

The entire event was captured on CCTV.

"It looks like a male, but its hard to tell because they were wearing a hoodie and a mask," Mr Rapaka said.

"It is with the police who have got the CCTV images and video."

Backyard chemists use pseudoephedrine based products to manufacture illegal stimulant drugs including speed and ice in primitive home laboratories.

The last break-in at the pharmacy was in 2017, when a 30-year-old man was arrested and charged the following day for stealing 'a significant amount' of prescription drugs.

Mr Rapaka thought the break-in was a random event that may have been perpetrated by someone who was not from the area.

"I don't think we were targeted, it's just random, but it's so unfortunate because it has created a lot of work for me," he said.

 

Blooms the Chemist at South Gladstone was broken into on Friday February 5, with offenders stealing over the counter Pseudoephedrine products. Picture: Rodney Stevens
Blooms the Chemist at South Gladstone was broken into on Friday February 5, with offenders stealing over the counter Pseudoephedrine products. Picture: Rodney Stevens

 

The outpouring of goodwill from customers and the public was greatly appreciated, Mr Rapaka said.

"I have received overwhelming support from the locals and a lot of people have come in to say they are supporting us in every way, which is really appreciated," he said.

"Now we are making the store more secure and locking up the Pseudoephedrine products every night."

Gladstone detectives spent several hours examining the scene before the store was permitted to reopen at 11.15am.

Police are examining CCTV footage of the incident to try to identify the offender.

A Queensland police spokeswoman urged anyone who saw anything suspicious around the Toolooa Street shops in the early hours of Friday, February 5, to call Crimestoppers on 1800 333 000 or Policelink on 131 444.

 

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