A man wearing a black hooded sweatshirt, a baseball cap and sunglasses robbed the pharmacy Monday night at the Hannaford Supermarket in South China, demanding and receiving opiate medication, police said.

Kennebec County Sheriff Ryan Reardon said Tuesday his agency was investigating the robbery. No supermarket employees were harmed when the man, who was caught on security camera, passed a note to an employee in the store’s pharmacy demanding a medicine containing opiates, according to Reardon.

The robber didn’t display a weapon. He was wearing blue gloves and light-colored sneakers, and his sweatshirt had a white logo on the left breast.

Employees at the store reported the incident at 7:45 p.m. Monday. The pharmacy is open until 10 p.m.

A sheriff’s deputy was close to the supermarket when the call came in, but he was not able to find the man.

Investigators described the man as having a slim build and appearing to be in his 20s. After receiving the drugs, he left the supermarket, which is at the corner of routes 3 and 32 in South China. Reardon said police don’t know whether he was acting alone or whether he left the area in a car.

Since announcing the robbery Tuesday morning, investigators have received a tip that might prove relevant, Reardon said. He was not able to provide further details about the investigation, including the type and quantity of drugs that were reported stolen.

Police asked that anyone with information about the robbery contact Detective Michael Bickford at the sheriff’s office at 623-3591.

Pharmacy robberies have decreased in Maine since 2012, when 56 were reported across the state, double the number that were reported in 2011. Several things have changed since then, according to Reardon, including pharmacies adopting more security measures.

At the same time, heroin has become cheaper and more appealing to illicit drug users than pharmaceuticals, he said. But the state’s police agencies have been cracking down on heroin dealers in the last year, and Reardon warned the increased enforcement could prompt further spasms in the illegal drug market, making pharmacy robberies more likely.

“It is important for all pharmacies to stay vigilant,” Reardon said. “As law enforcement continues to address the heroin problem and more dealers go to jail, other means will be sought by addicts to fill the void. It’s a cause and effect. The opiates are interchangeable.”

Charles Eichacker — 621-5642

[email protected]

Twitter: @ceichacker

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