York St. will add security measures following robbery and shooting

Ervis Rrapi, manager of York St. Pharmacy, which was robbed Feb. 4. SAM NEWHOUSE / STAR PHOTO

After experiencing the pharmacy’s second robbery, the manager of York St. Pharmacy in Fishtown plans to ramp up security.

He’s not running scared.

A day after being robbed at gunpoint — for the second time — York St. Pharmacy manager Erivs Rrapi said he was unfazed by the incident, but will install a new security buzzer door.

“This does not affect my business,” Rrapi said in his Fishtown pharmacy, one day after looking down the barrel of a gun for the second time in four months. “This does not affect my customers. They still get the best service.”

According to police, three black males burst into York St. Pharmacy, 2334 E. York St., on Monday, Feb. 4, just before 11 a.m. One of them had a gun.

The men did not pretend to be customers when they entered, according to Rrapi.

According to police, they took Rrapi’s wallet and cell phone and ordered him to empty the cash register, as well as to hand over prescription pills.

One male fired the gun into the air as the trio fled on foot down York Street and up Cedar Street, according to police.

Police said that about $1,000 in cash was stolen and estimated that $30,000 worth of pills were stolen. The exact type of drugs stolen was not made public by police or the pharmacy.

The last robbery took place on a rainy evening in November as Hurricane Sandy battered the coast. One of the police-dubbed “pharmacy bandits” held up Rrapi and made off with cash and pills including Percocet, Oxycodone, and Vicodin.

Two men were arrested later that month and linked to 18 pharmacy robberies in the Philadelphia area last year, after police traced a GPS tracking device stashed in the stolen pills.

After the November incident, Key Food Pizza, the pizzeria across the block from the pharmacy, installed security cameras.

Tiffany Dylan, 24, a cashier at Key Food Pizza, said she’s not accustomed to thinking that she works in a dangerous neighborhood, but the two robberies across the street have started to change that.

“I don’t even like walking around here at night anymore…everyone’s getting worried,” she said.

After being robbed for the second time, Rrapi, 31, vowed to take several new security measures to protect his business as well as the neighborhood.

Those measures include a buzzer security door, more security cameras, a panic button, and the potential hiring of a security guard.

Additionally, he said that within a week, all the medications in the store will have GPS security tracking.

But otherwise, business is good. Rrapi said that in the two years since York St. opened, it has seen 20,000 customers, and the owners are planning to open a new pharmacy at 919 Tyson St. in Lawndale.

“I was raised in Fishtown and Kensington, I love this community,” Rrapi said. “It’s not dangerous. It’s just the addiction of narcotics in the world today is pretty high.”

“I feel good about the community,” Rrapi continued. “With all these measures, we’ll feel safe again,” he said.

Police had not announced any arrests in the robbery as of press-time.

To submit a tip to the Philadelphia Police Department, call 215–686-TIPS (8477) or text PPDTIP (773847).

Reporter Sam Newhouse can be reached at 215–354–3124 or at snewhouse@bsmphilly.com.