BY JOE OLENICK
Niagara Gazette — The Niagara County Sheriff's Office is looking for a man who robbed the Newfane Pharmacy on Monday by claiming he was armed with an explosive device.
The robbery at the South Main Street pharmacy occurred just before 4 p.m. Employees called 911 reporting a man entered the store and demanded Opana, a prescription painkiller, then put a package on the checkout counter and told the clerk it was a transmitter that could blow something up.
The suspect also claimed the clerk's child was being held hostage outside the pharmacy.
The man is described as about 5-feet-7 and weighing about 140 pounds. He was wearing baggy jeans, a green hoodie, boots, one purple latex medical glove and a blue bandanna over his face. Witnesses guessed he has brown eyes and a darker complexion, investigators said.
There are no indications that either of the suspect's threats was legitimate, Sheriff James R. Voutour said late Monday.
"He took the package with him," the sheriff said. "We don't know for sure. It seemed it was a way to force the clerk to comply with his wishes."
The clerk told the suspect that Newfane Pharmacy does not carry Opana. That's when the suspect demanded money, which the clerk gave him, Voutour said. The man took off with an undetermined amount of cash, running northbound on Main Street.
There were two clerks and an elderly couple in the pharmacy at the time, Voutour said.
By late Monday, deputies and a K9 unit were searching the area. Anyone with information is asked to call the Niagara County Sheriff's Office at 438-3396 or Investigator Steve Gaydos at 438-3407.
Generally, although not all of the time, such robberies are carried out by someone who is familiar with the area, according to Voutour. And typically, the target is cased by the suspect beforehand.
"We're looking for any type of information," the sheriff said. "If they've seen anyone hanging around or saw anyone leave and head north, we want to talk to them."Contact reporter Joe Olenick at 439-9222, ext. 6241 or follow him on Twitter @joeolenick.