SAN JOSE, Calif. - Looters targeted a pharmacy in San Jose on Sunday that's been serving the community during the pandemic. Now, the owner of Garcia Pharmacy is telling some of his clients their vital medications must wait.
Most of the pharmacy's medications were either stolen, damaged or contaminated. Owner James Wong is worried the drugs fell into the wrong hands and that could be very dangerous.
“We’ve been helping the community for so long and it’s a slap in the face to go through this experience,” said Wong.
The looting occurred just before 9 p.m. San Jose’s curfew was in effect. Surveillance cameras captured someone throwing an object and smashing the pharmacy’s window. Seven people were seen running inside.
The thieves wore masks and stuffed their backpacks with prescription bottles. The owner said, they stole hundreds of patients’s medications including drugs to treat diabetes, epilepsy and blood pressure to name a few.
The thieves left the same way they came in. The owner arrived shortly after. He believes the looters came back a few times but drove off once he started reading off their license plate to police.
“This is the first time I ever felt scared in San Jose,” said Wong. “I’ve been born and raised here. It was just a weird experience to go through.”
Wong said the thieves used a tire iron to break in. During the theft, a fire extinguisher went off contaminating some drugs.
“We don't know if they opened some of the bottles and switched medications,” said Wong. “We don’t know if they spit in them.”
He’s had to destroy most of his inventory. While the thieves didn't steal any opioids or morphine, they stole anti-psychotic medication.
“It’s really dangerous when medications get out to the general public,” said Wong. “They are not used correctly especially when there's not supervision.”
The owner isn’t sure why he was targeted. He estimates $50,000 worth of drugs was stolen and hundreds of thousands of dollars of damage done.
“I have to say something,” said Wong. “This is getting completely out of hand now.”
The pharmacy is hoping to re-open on Wednesday. The owner said he’s called police who have not yet begun their investigative work.