Vo Vu, owner of the PharmaSave Elizabeth Late Night Chemist, said that a man entered the store on Wednesday night at around 9.15.

“He knew what he was doing, and went straight to the location of the drug [behind the counter] and picked it off the shelf,” Mr Vu says.

“He took some Alopam and tried to leave.

“There was a scuffle with the pharmacist – the pharmacist was serving a customer, but the Alopam was quite close to where he was.

“I think it was more a reaction of shock than purposely trying to restrain the offender, but there was a struggle.

“[The offender] was wielding a hammer so when the pharmacist identified that, he let him go, and the offender left on foot and ran off.”

Police dog Nero. Image: SA Police, Facebook

Police dog Nero. Image: SA Police, Facebook

Police were then called, and searched the area with the assistance of Police Dog Nero, who picked up a track that ended at Chilingworth Road.

However, the suspect could not be located.

Police are looking for a man described as about 175-180cm tall with a thin build. He was wearing a mask, black hooded top with the hood covering his head, black pants and black shoes. Anyone who witnessed any suspicious activity in the area or has any other information that may assist the investigation is asked to call Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000.

Mr Vu told the AJP that concerned customers have been checking on the welfare of the pharmacy staff all day.

“Quite a few have called, and they’ve come in,” he said. “It’s a very community-based pharmacy.”

He said that he feels that retailers in general – not just pharmacy – are experiencing an upsurge in this sort of crime.

“It’s happening, but it’s everywhere – it’s petrol stations, convenience stores, Post Offices. I guess you can call us soft targets.”

No pharmacy staff were physically hurt.