People of the town of Riverhead were taken off guard as their neighborly Barth’s Drug Store was held up and robbed last month. Barth’s is located on 32 East Main Street in Riverhead, and has been serving the public of their pharmaceutical needs for over 85 years.
On Nov. 7, three masked men, including a gunman, made their way into the family owned drug store at around 6 P.M. on the Wednesday night, and quickly ransacked the small pharmacy.
The epidemic of pharmacy robberies on Long Island has startled the small communities surrounding our small island. No matter which town you are in, a robbery is frightening because it can occur anywhere. The robbery, which happened last summer in Medford, where drug addict David Laffer shot and killed the store clerk, pharmacist, and customers to steal narcotics had left our island in shock. This robbery in Riverhead, however, had not left such a severe mark as did Laffer in his previous pharmacy robbery.
Store owner Barry Barth explained to me what happened the night his pharmacy was robbed. “We have never been held up before. We had incidents of people robbing, but never with a gun.” A gun is a terrifying weapon, and especially when being used to rob a small family owned drug store.
“Fortunately no one was hurt, but this is a psychological problem for anyone. We are trying to work through that with our staff,” Barth went on to explain to me. Owning a pharmacy for a long amount of time can be frightful, especially when having been in the business for such a long time and never being held up with a gun before.
Barth was not working the night of the robbery, but explained to me the events which took place that night. “They stole money from the register, and our pharmacist’s wallet. They also stole some miscellaneous prescription medication, and didn’t take narcotics but rather random things off the shelves.”
I asked Barth if he thinks there was any way to prevent this robbery which frighteningly enough involved a gun. “We have a sophisticated security system in place and what happened was unfortunate, but there is no step up security that could have prevented that.”
The Staff Pharmacist and Pharmacist technician were the only two working that night, and they are grateful to be alive and to have survived the gun scare. “The police did recently catch the men involved in the robbery of my store,” Barth was relieved to admit.
Surprisingly enough, the three men involved in robbing Barth’s store, had also been involved in two other similar robberies where a gun was involved. Police have charged Larry M. Moore, 17, Erick C. Darden, 19, and Arnell Nash, 21, with robbery in the first degree. These masked men, with their guns, have held up a Valero gas station in South Hampton, and a Halloween store on Route 58 along with Barth’s Drug Store.
Barth’s Pharmacy is located just across from the Suffolk’s Eastern Campus Culinary Institute, and students were just as afraid as normal Riverhead townspeople when hearing of the robbery. Culinary Student Dominick Vera explained to me his thoughts on this robbery.
“I have been a culinary student for the last two years, and honestly I didn’t even hear about the robbery at Barth’s. This is not a shocker to me though, with the types of people walking around there just during the day alone sometimes. The kinds of people walking around are sketchy.”
A sketchy neighborhood isn’t too hard to come by on this island, but it is afraid to think anyone walking along on the road could have a gun ready.
Eastern Campus Student Haley Baldwin is terrified of guns, and even more so to hear of one being used to hold up a small store in her town. “As a resident of the town, I can tell you that I was surprised and sad to hear there was a robbery in my town!”
Police are trying their hardest to ensure violent crimes such as these will never have to happen again, and to try their best to keep the bad guys off the streets. The best we can all do is keep our eyes peeled for the “sketchy” looking people in our small towns. Gun violence is a terrifying, but true act of violence which happens more than we know.
Anyone with information regarding gun violence must call their local police department to cut down the random acts of violence plaguing our island.