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Thief Becomes Clerk at Drugstore

It was reported that three men robbed Heights Pharmacy on February 22, 1923. The store was located at St Nicholas Avenue and 145th Street in New York City. Two of the men kept clerk David Neuberger busy while the third snagged druggist Dr. Abraham N. Horowitz as he emerged from the basement of the store after getting some drugs to fill prescriptions.

They tied Dr. Horowitz up and stole $300 from his pocket, plus his gold pocket watch and chain. They also searched the pockets of the clerk and found a total of 45-cents.  They gave the money back to him and told him to use it for car fare.

During all of this commotion, the thieves failed to lock the door to the store. In enters one Dr. Siegel and his wife.  He was also tied up and an additional $38 was taken.  Another customer entered the store, adding another $170 to their haul.

And here is where things start to get interesting.

A woman walked in and requested a jar of Vaseline, so one of the thieves said that it was out of stock and that she should come back tomorrow. He did offer her another product as a substitution, but she was uninterested and left the store.

Next, a young man entered the pharmacy and requested a pint of ice cream. That may seem odd today, but keep in mind that many pharmacies served ice cream back then.  The crook-turned-clerk grabbed an empty container, scooped the ice cream, and then had the nerve to charge the man 35-cents.

Finally, another woman walked in and asked the pseudo-clerk if her prescription was ready. He checked with the Doc, who was still in the back of the store with guns pointed at him, and he responded that the prescription was ready.  The woman received her prescription, paid $1.20 for it, and left the store never suspecting that it was being robbed.

During that sale of the prescription, the thief opted to clean out the cash from the register.  He then asked the pharmacist if he had any “coke.”  When Dr. Horowitz replied that he did not, the three men left the store.  Mrs. Siegel saw the three men speed off in a taxi that had been parked about half a block away.

Hall's Pharmacy Fourth and Chestnut Streets., Mifflinburg, Pa.
Hall’s Pharmacy – Fourth and Chestnut Streets., Mifflinburg, Pennsylvania. Circa 1890-1930. Library of Congress image.
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