Man robs Sterling Drug for narcotics

Published 4:48 pm Monday, June 21, 2010

A 6-foot-tall unmasked man reportedly robbed Sterling Drug in downtown Albert Lea just after noon Monday.

The incident was the third robbery in Albert Lea in two weeks; however, this time the robber requested narcotics, not money.

Albert Lea Police Chief Dwaine Winkels said the man, wielding a knife, went to the pharmacy, 148 S. Broadway Ave., and demanded narcotics at about 12:30 p.m. He fled out the back of the store and headed north down the alley toward Fountain Lake.

Email newsletter signup

He was last seen wearing blue jeans, a navy blue or black long-sleeved sweater or shirt with a white shirt underneath and dark shoes. He was not wearing a mask.

Police stated the man was clean-shaven and appeared to be in his early 20s. He was described as being light-skinned black or Hispanic, or maybe a combination of both. He did not speak with any type of accent.

Austin Police Department’s canine unit was called in to track the man’s scent.

Winkels said the dog followed the scent down the alley for “quite a ways” and then lost the scent. The police chief said at that point it was possible the man could have gotten into a car.

Officers were staged at the north end of the alley on Clark Street, at the south end of the alley on William Street and near the Fountain Lake Park Gazebo after the robbery was reported to authorities.

Officers also went door to door at the downtown businesses asking business owners and employees whether they noticed anything suspicious.

“This is a concern,” Winkels said. “This is our third robbery in two weeks.”

An unarmed masked man entered the Lakeside Café on Friday evening through an unlocked back door at the restaurant, 408 Bridge Ave., walked up to the register, pushed an employee that was nearby and then took money.

A white man in his 20s robbed the Korner Mart at Main Street and First Avenue on June 8. The robber allegedly sprayed pepper spray, took the money and then fled the store.

Winkels said he doesn’t recall the last time there were three robberies in a year, let alone in two weeks.

He asked that store clerks and customers pay extra attention to people standing around inside and outside of stores, because in all three of the recent robberies, the robbers have cased the store beforehand.

Winkels asked the public to call in with tips or suspicious activity at 377-5205.