Memphis Pharmacy May Close After 4 Burglaries


The unfortunate reality of being in the pharmacy business is that burglaries are bound to occur at some point. For one pharmacy in Memphis, Tennessee, the reality has hit hard. The Wiles-Smith Drug Store has endured 4 break-ins over the past 6 months. Store owner Charlie Smith, PharmD—battered, but not down for the count—does not want to give up on the 67-year-old landmark business, despite being understandably disheartened.

“I don’t know what I’d do if I wasn’t here. I really don’t,” Smith told reporters. “We’ve been here 67 years. I’d like to make it 70.”

For Smith, who runs the drugstore and soda fountain mostly on his own, the break-ins have been devastating not only because of the merchandise stolen, but also due to the costs of repairs and the extra work that comes with being burglarized. Filling out insurance paperwork, along with reporting to the Drug Enforcement Administration, the board of pharmacy, and the police department is time consuming and can be exhausting, Smith said.

The rash of break-ins at the drugstore started back in June, with the second burglary following soon after. Adding to Smith’s woes, his insurance company dropped him 3 months ago, leaving the pharmacist to bear the financial losses of the robberies. Worst of all is the fact that he also went unpaid for the other 2 burglaries, due to improperly filling out the paperwork.

Luckily for Smith, the burglars were not able to steal anything during the most recent break-in, because unlike in the other 3, the police nabbed the criminals this time. Law enforcement officials responded to an alarm after 1 of 3 individuals cut a hole in the pharmacy’s roof.

Although there was no loss in merchandise, Smith is reeling from the other losses, along with those of the previous break-in, when the burglars broke through a brick wall in the establishment.

Despite his multiple misfortunes, Smith is hanging in there, thanks to moral support from people in his community.

“Some people that didn't even know me, call me up say they saw it in the paper and they're so sorry to hear about it,” Smith told reporters. “It really touches you.”

For other articles in this issue, see:

EHRs May Not Deliver All That They Promise

Americans’ Perceptions off When it Comes to Coughs

Drinking Coffee and Tea May Cut Diabetes Risk

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