Search continues for 2 who kidnapped pharmaceuticals deliveryman

Andrew Blankstein (Los Angeles Times) | October 8, 2010

Two robbers posing as police officers abducted a man at gunpoint Thursday morning as he was preparing to deliver pharmaceuticals to a San Fernando Valley drugstore, Los Angeles police said.

The victim, who was not immediately identified, had just gotten out of his delivery truck in front of the Rite Aid pharmacy in the 13300 block of Riverside Drive in Sherman Oaks when he was confronted by two men armed with semiautomatic handguns and wearing sweatshirts with the word “police” on them.

One of the men forced the driver back into his delivery truck and drove off about 6:45 a.m. The other man followed the truck in a car described as a black, four-door Honda with tinted windows, chrome rims and a racing spoiler.

Donald West initially watched the scene unfold from a spot near the drugstore’s entrance, where he was collecting donations for a charity.

He said he saw two men approach the delivery driver and order him to put his hands up, but he turned away because the men were in uniform.

“They looked like police to me,” West said. “They had police uniforms on. I thought the [victim] was doing something wrong. I turned away.”

Timothy J. Landrum, special agent in charge of the Drug Enforcement Administration’s Los Angeles field office, said federal officials are seeing an upswing in pharmacy and delivery truck robberies.

“Sadly, the increase in prescription drug abuse creates crime,” Landrum said. “And over the past five years we have seen an increase in prescription drug diversion through forgery of prescriptions, pharmacy robberies and burglaries.”

Although kidnappings connected to robberies remain rare, LAPD Deputy Chief Pat Gannon said investigators are seeing more crimes targeting pharmacies, many of them takeover-style heists by gang members.

Article continues at: http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/local/la-me-kidnap-20101008,0,671256.story

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