University Place Rite Aid targeted in back-to-back armed robberies

A University Place pharmacy is the target of back-to-back violent crimes this week, and law enforcement are still looking for a suspect in one of the incidents.

The Pierce County Sheriff’s Department say the crimes happened at the Rite Aid at 3840 Bridgeport Way.

The first incident occurred Tuesday at 6:40 p.m. 

Sergeant Darren Moss with the Pierce County Sheriff’s Department says a man with a gun hopped the counter at the pharmacy. That man then grabbed several bottles of drugs.

Moss says while the suspect was escaping he dropped his gun, and had to go back to pick it up. This suspect is still on the loose.

"It wasn’t in the middle of the night. This was something in the early evening. And to have that happen in a quiet community like that, it’s just kind of weird. And two nights in a row, for one business, is also very weird," said Moss.

On Wednesday at 9 p.m., the Rite Aid dealt with another very similar crime.

Moss says a woman came in and held a knife to a customer’s throat. The suspect then demanded drugs from the pharmacy. The suspect sliced the hostage’s hand as the victim tried to get the knife away from her throat, Moss said. The victim was taken to the hospital and treated.

The suspect in this incident was arrested.

"These are the crimes that are going to affect people and get people hurt really, really bad," said Moss.

People who live and shop in the area say these are not the stories they expect to hear about University Place.

"That’s scary. I’m feeling funny about being around this mall right now by myself," said Pat Richardson who was shopping in the same center as the Rite Aid.

The suspect in the first incident is still on the loose.

Moss says there is surveillance video. Investigators ask anyone with information to contact them.

RELATED: Pierce County budget proposal includes $473.1 million for public safety, addressing rising crime

READ MORE: Pierce County deputies looking for man who sprayed officer in the face with bear mace

Stay connected with FOX 13 News on all platforms:
DOWNLOAD: FOX 13 News and Weather Apps
WATCH: FOX 13 News Live
SUBSCRIBE: FOX 13 on YouTube
DAILY BRIEF: Sign Up For Our Newsletter
FOLLOW: Facebook Twitter Instagram