THE manager of a South Tamworth pharmacy has spoken of the chilling moment a woman burst into the business and allegedly menaced staff with a knife before demanding drugs.
The drama unfolded at Southgate Shopping Centre’s Family Pharmacy shortly after noon yesterday, when the woman entered the store and allegedly produced a knife after staff refused to hand the medication over. Four police cars swooped on the scene within minutes of the call for help, arresting the woman and seizing the weapon.
She was taken to Tamworth Police Station and later charged with attempted armed robbery with an offensive weapon, possessing a prohibited drug, common assault, breach of bail and a separate armed robbery charge relating to a similar hold-up in the Sydney suburb of St Marys earlier this month.
The woman is also accused of spitting at a local TV news cameraman when escorted out of the pharmacy by police.
Pharmacist and manager of the chemist Haydn Smith said his staff were deeply shaken by the episode.
He praised their professionalism during the incident.
As stunned shoppers looked on, detectives have taken statements from staff and were seen leaving with brown evidence bags in hand.
Pharmacy staff had to turn away customers needing prescriptions filled until officers finished at the scene.
The pharmacy reopened after detectives left the scene about 1.45pm.
Oxley Local Area Command duty officer Inspector Kylie Endemi told The Leader police had seized several exhibits which would be under review but would not confirm what type of medication the woman was after.
It is understood the woman is from Sydney but had recently relocated back to Tamworth and had not visited the pharmacy before.
“CCTV and other evidence is being obtained by our criminal investigators,” Inspector Endemi said.
“I can confirm there were no physical injuries to anyone at the scene although obviously those present were shaken by what must have been a very traumatic incident.
“At this stage her movements before this alleged offence occurred have not been confirmed and are being determined by the investigators.
“The woman is also assisting police with their inquiries regarding other matters including a similar incident at a chemist in St Marys earlier this month.
“I do stress it’s a very serious offence and will be dealt with in that way.
“In this case we’ve had an excellent result in being able to place someone under arrest in a short period of time with no injuries to anyone involved.”