Chch chemist robbery: gunman barricades in terrified staff

Police were called to the robbery about 20 minutes after the man entered the store and are...
Police were called to the robbery about 20 minutes after the man entered the store and are reviewing CCTV footage in their effort to track him down. He remained at large as of Saturday afternoon. Photo: Bevan Conley
An armed robber who stole drugs and cash from a Christchurch chemist before barricading terrified staff into a back room on Friday night remains at large.

The ordeal began at closing time at the Bargain Chemist in Papanui’s Langdons Rd.

Retail manager Anna Abraham said the man strode into the store shortly after 8pm wearing a bandana and bucket hat, carrying duffle bags and what looked like a gun.

Staff said the man emitted a horrendous odour. One woman working at the time said he "smelled like hell," Abraham said.

His dress and demeanour told staff he was not there to fill a prescription and the two women working at the counter ran to the back of the store.

"They knew he was there to rob the place," Abraham said.

A pharmacist came out and asked the man what was going on, whereupon the robber went into the dispensary, announced he had a gun and demanded staff retrieve cash and controlled drugs from the safe and put them into his bags.

Abraham said they saw he was carrying what looked like a gun. She said the staff were terrified and did as the man asked.

He took the staff out the back of the store and barricaded them in the staff room, before rummaging around the store looking for more controlled drugs and cash to steal.

They had just done the banking and estimated the man would have made off with no more than about $400 in addition to the drugs, Abraham said.

Police were called about 8.20pm and were in the Papanui area on Friday trying to find the man.

As of Saturday afternoon, he had not been arrested, a police spokeswoman said.

By George Block