String of CVS robberies may be connected

SAN DIEGO — Police said Wednesday they are investigating a possible connection between a string of robberies this summer at CVS pharmacies across San Diego, including a heist that occurred Wednesday morning in the La Jolla Village area.

Officers responded just after 3 a.m. to the CVS at 8831 Villa La Jolla Drive on a report that a man jumped over the pharmacy counter and demanded prescription drugs, San Diego police officer Dino Delimitros said. He said the suspect was last seen running out the front door toward a nearby Whole Foods store, and possibly got into the passenger side of a silver vehicle. It wasn’t immediately known what he took.

Witnesses described him as a tall black man wearing a heavy black jacket with the hood up, blue jeans and white tennis shoes.

Both the suspect description and the manner of the heist match several other recent robberies, and Delimitros confirmed that detectives are trying to determine if they might be related.

Early on the morning May 7, a man with similar physical attributes jumped over the counter at a CVS pharmacy in North Park. During that robbery, the suspect lifted his shirt and displayed the handle of a gun before fleeing with bottles of cough syrup, police said. He wore a black puffy jacket and fled in a gray Nissan Altima.

On May 11, a masked man pulled off a nearly identical heist at a CVS on Mira Mesa Boulevard. The thief jumped the counter, showed off a gun, stole cough syrup and escaped in a waiting vehicle.

The next heist occurred the next night in the Rolando area when a black man in a puffy jacket jumped over the pharmacy counter and told everyone to get on the ground before getting away, police said

In July, the spate of robberies picked back up when a man who covered his face with a bandana held up the same CVS on Mira Mesa Boulevard that was hit May 11. The suspect, described by witnesses as a 6-foot-3-inch and 200 pound black man, jumped the counter, told employees not to move and made off with medication, according to the SDPD.

Last month, it was the CVS in Hillcrest that was robbed on Aug. 13 in a similar fashion, with the suspect again jumping over the counter and making off with medicine. That suspect was described as a black man between 5 feet 8 inches and 6 feet tall, wearing a black hoodie, gray pants and white shoes.

Four days later, a thief was confronted by a CVS employee in National City while stealing display items from that store, police said. Though different from the other robberies in mode and location — it was the only one outside of San Diego city limits — the suspect claimed to have a gun and was able to escape.

On Sept. 3, the possibly related heists picked back up when a man jumped over the counter early in the morning at the Hillcrest CVS, ordered employees not to call police and fled with several prescription medications. The suspect was described as wearing a gray hooded sweatshirt, a black mask and blue jeans.

Last week, two men pulled off a similar robbery at a Walgreens pharmacy in North Park, jumping the counter, demanding drugs and making off with Oxycodone and cough syrup.