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The Scarlet & Black

The Scarlet & Black

How owners, police are responding to the latest break-in at Medicap Pharmacy

Medicap’s window remains broken. By Kaya Matsuura.

At 2:25 a.m., on Nov. 15, Jennifer and Kevin Stallman received a phone call notifying them that their business, Grinnell’s Medicap Pharmacy, had been robbed. According to Jennifer Stallman, they rushed to their Sixth Ave pharmacy as soon as they could, finding the police already at the scene and a broken front window.

This is the fourth burglary that the Stallmans have had to deal with since they bought the pharmacy in 2003. According to Jennifer Stallman, the previous robberies also occurred at night, while no employees were present. This has made solving the break-ins difficult and, including the most recent, three still remain unsolved.

The Stallmans are still in the process of taking inventory of their stock to understand the extent of the robbery, but they currently estimate that somewhere between $1,000 to $2,000 dollars of medication was stolen.

Captain Zachary Sittig of the Grinnell Police Department said that, as with most ongoing narcotics cases, the department will not divulge any information that is not immediately necessary to the public.

In the past, Sittig has worked on narcotics task forces in both Grinnell and the mid-Iowa region. He said that in his experience, pharmacy robberies are usually committed by “someone who generally has an addiction, but also supports that addiction through narcotic sales.”

Sittig said that any investigation into the burglary will include comparing notes with other police departments in the region, as many pharmacy burglaries are committed as part of a larger spree.

“Pharmacies like HyVee, Walmart and Medicap are all laid out the same,” said Sittig, “Once you figure out how one is [arranged], you can pretty much run through a bunch of them.”

For her part, Jennifer Stallman didn’t wait for the results of the investigation before she took action. Stallman has already reached out to the Grinnell community for help finding the perpetrator, posting a photo of the pharmacy’s broken window on the Grinnell community Facebook page, Hey Grinnell, did you know … She asked residents for any information they may have about the robbery and, if they are able, to share their own security footage of the night in question.

Stallman’s own video footage doesn’t clearly identify the perpetrator, whose face was covered with a black mask. “It really could be anyone,” she said, “It could be someone from Des Moines coming down to do it. You never know.”

The break-in hit Grinnell’s Medicap Pharmacy during a period of financial difficulty. Jennifer Stallman said that since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic in March, the pharmacy has filled fewer prescriptions than ever before. She attributes this decrease to Grinnell residents being hesitant to go to medical offices as a result of the pandemic, and as a result having less frequent need for medication. Additionally, a large part of Medicap’s client base are Grinnell College students, who – like many other college students around the country – went home in March when the pandemic started.

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