Carjacking at CVS, and being accountable

Dateline: Tue 26 May 2015

    Skip, a resident of Butler-Tarkington, was carjacked at CVS at 56th and Illinois around 5 p.m. Saturday May 16. The perps, who had been sitting on the bench outside the store that day, attacked him as he was getting boxes for a friend who is moving. Skip was hit, savagely in my opinion, on the back of the head. He was struck so severely that he lost consciousness. The injury required 15 staples. He says he still suffers headaches.

    The suspects drove away with his 2001 gold Toyota Avalon with tinted windows and a handicapped license plate. The creeps also took his wallet. Please be on the lookout for this car. Call 911 if you see it.

    That's the story. Now it's time to have a conversation, not only about this crime, but about CVS being a better corporate citizen.

    I'm on a high horse on this one because it's personal; I trade at that CVS, and I was there that Saturday and saw those suspects sitting outside the store, on the bench where employees go to smoke or catch a breath of fresh air. I know we live in a first-class world of gentle tolerance, but I was too tolerant.

     The couple lounging on the bench -- a skinny white man in black pants and a black jacket with lots of logos, and a heavy white woman in a red shirt and black pants, both smoking -- looked suspicious. Frankly, they looked like dirtbags. As I left in my vehicle, I slowed down to give them a hard look, and they responded by smiling and waving. So I drove off, rather than go into the store and ask hard questions or call 911 to report my concerns. 

     I put the onus on myself, but I put it more on CVS. 

     As my friend Richard Sutton pointed out on Facebook, this is the same CVS where state legislator Sue Errington of Muncie was assaulted a few years ago as she was leaving the store. That was an after-dark crime. This was was in daylight. (The suspects who beat up Errington were eventually caught).

     Here is my beef. CVS does indeed have security cameras outside the store, and at the end of this post, I'll give you the link to show CVS surveillance video in a report by WTHR's David MacAnally, who also lives in Midtown. And yes, CVS has video cameras inside the store.

    So far, CVS is refusing to release video of the suspects who were inside the store, going inside to use the bathroom.

    Here are some possible fixes CVS could make:

    *Post a NO LOITERING sign above that bench. Make it clear that it is property of CVS and for use only by employees and patrons of the store. 

    *Patrol the parking lot. Yes, hire security. In the wake of this crime, a guard needs to be outside the store, sending the message to creeps that crime will not be tolerated.

     *CVS headquarters must release the surveillance video of what took place inside the store. The more people (customers and employees) who can ID this pair, the better. I am told that Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department has to get a subpoena to satisfy corporate CVS. That's bullshit.

     *It's imperative that CVS acts the role of a good neighbor. One objection to the chain I've  heard -- from a pharmacist -- is that CVS overall is understaffed in contrast to Kroger pharmacy/stores. That makes CVS a more likely target for robberies. So CVS needs to beef up its presence not only outside but inside the store.

   *Employees -- who are overworked, I know -- need to be schooled in looking for suspicious behavior.

   *The bathroom facilities should only be for customers inside the store, not walk-ins off the street. That door leading to the bathroom should be locked, so it's not easily available.

      A couple years ago, when I was at the same CVS early in the morning, a man -- staggering, with alcohol on his breath -- came in to buy booze. The clerk sold it to him. I questioned her as to why she would do this. "He's just sitting outside in his car, drinking," she said. I told her I thought this was all a very bad idea, and one of us -- I can't recall who -- called the cops. This guy could have taken to the road at any time, drunk as a skunk.

     We all know "stuff happens" but we also all know that vigilance pays off. Don't blame the police; they are quite busy trying to solve crimes. And sure, more officers would help. But in today's world, we all need to have cop eyes.  Be tolerant, yes, but when your radar goes on, listen to that instinct.

     I did not, and I regret it deeply. 

     Good luck to Skip (who does not want his last name used) and good look to Detective Marshall Hoskins who is working on this case. If you have info, send me an email at and I will give you Hoskins' email.

    Finally, at the end of this post, is a link to David's TV report, with thanks for the exposure, and thanks to Skip for posting a sign on the telephone pole on 56th street, outside the store. Skip is a tough dude, and he is working it.

    We all live together, folks and we all need to work together to make our city safe.





Jeremy [unverified] said:

All good points but one. It takes little time or effort to get a subpoena, and it's wise for CVS to insist on it. It is protecting the privacy of persons on its property. Due process is important, and no impediment to justice.

2015-05-26 13:55:57

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