San Diego

Teens Arrested for String of Cough Syrup Robberies

The suspects are accused in at least three robberies of cough syrup at Rite-Aid pharmacies in San Diego, Carlsbad and Riverside

Two teenagers were arrested Wednesday at a Rite-Aid pharmacy in San Diego for a string of robberies in which they allegedly stole cough syrup from stores in Southern California.

Vista resident Jason Casillas, 19, was arrested along with a 17-year-old girl at a Rite-Aid located at 3650 Adams Ave. after Casillas jumped over a counter at the pharmacy and stole several bottles of cough syrup.

The San Diego Police Department (SDPD) said an employee at the store had recognized the pair from a flyer distributed by Rite-Aid security regarding past thefts of cough syrup. The employee called police while the suspects were still in the store.

The teens ran out through the front door but were met by police officers. The SDPD said a third suspect – another 19-year-old man – was arrested at the scene for charges unrelated to the robbery.

SDPD Lt. Eric Hays said Casillas and the minor are suspected in at least three robberies of cough syrup at Rite-Aid pharmacies in San Diego, Carlsbad, and Riverside since Dec. 29, 2017. Detectives are looking into whether the suspects may have been involved in additional similar crimes. Due to her age, the name of the minor will not be released.

The investigation is ongoing. Anyone with information can call the SDPD Robbery Unit at (619) 531-2299 or Crime Stoppers at (888) 580-8477.

While the motive for the robberies is unknown, cough syrup includes the cough suppressant dextromethorphan (DXM), a drug that, if abused, could cause hallucinations and a feeling of being high. A practice called “robo-tripping” or “skittling” includes mixing DXM with soda or combining it with alcohol and marijuana.

Casillas was booked into jail on four counts of robbery; he’s scheduled to appear in court Friday.

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