WATERVILLE — A rise in crime at area pharmacies has prompted police Chief Joseph Massey to host a workshop for pharmacists and others who dispense prescription drugs about what to do before, during and after a robbery.

“I’m becoming very concerned that one of those pharmacy robberies is going to lead to serious injury or death to pharmacy staff, customers or even the robber,” Massey said Monday.

“We’ve had three recent robberies that made me realize we needed to take a proactive approach to reduce robberies and the likelihood of some injuries during those robberies.”

Massey said hard narcotics are a powerful motivation.

“They’re not asking for anything else except these hard narcotics,” he said. “They’re so focused that all they want is those drugs.”

The goal of the workshop is to help businesses develop ways to help reduce the likelihood of a robbery, as well as to help protect staff and others if one happens, Massey said.

“I think it’ll be very useful and helpful information,” he said. “I’ve put together a very comprehensive presentation based on not only the pharmacy robberies we’ve experienced locally, but also the ones that have occurred in other jurisdictions surrounding us and across the state. I’ve also accessed a number of resources on the Internet including information from the FBI and other federal agencies.”

Massey said he hopes there is a lot of interest and that people will register so he will know the council chambers is large enough.

The event is not just for Waterville pharmacies and medical workers, but for any who are interested, he said. Police from other departments also may attend.

“Police chiefs and sheriffs’ departments have shown a lot of interest in the presentation and would like to be there as well,” Massey said.

He said his department does similar presentations, with some variations, for bank workers.

The event will be 9-10 a.m. Thursday, May 31, in the City Council Chambers at The Center, at 93 Main St. To register, contact Kathleen Kenney-Haley at 680-4704 or [email protected]

Amy Calder — 861-9247

[email protected]