Two pharmacies in Kitchener were the targets of a thief on Monday morning, and it's not the first time one of the locations has been hit.

There was an attempted robbery at the Pharmacare pharmacy at 944 King Street West shortly before 11:30 a.m.

An armed suspect was seen near the store, possibly carrying a handgun, wearing dark clothing and a face-covering.

However, the suspect left empty-handed after the pharmacy locked their doors before he could get in.

Waterloo Regional Police spokesperson Olaf Heinzel says "They were able to take some preventative action and as a result it turned out to be an attempted robbery."

There have been four previous robberies at that location in the past year. In each of those cases the suspect fled with prescription drugs.

Minutes later and just a few blocks away the Central Pharmasave at 765 King Street West was robbed by man brandishing what appeared to be a handgun.

The suspect made off with an unknown quantity of prescription drugs including Oxycontin and Percocet and is believed to have fled in a vehicle.

Police believe the same suspect is responsible for both incidents Monday morning, and for at least one previous robbery at the Pharmacare location on Dec. 9, 2011.

Heinzel says there is a lot of concern regarding the thefts, and not just because Monday's bold mid-day robbery was just steps away from a high school.

"We have to look at the larger issue as well of the illegal use and sale of narcotics in our community and surrounding communities."

Paul Laurie, an addiction counsellor, says once you're addicted to heavier narcotics it's tough to come off.

"If it gets really bad, if they're up to say 80 milligrams or 100 milligrams of Oxy's they can very easily, as we've been seeing, break into pharmacies."

He believes the solution isn't increasing police presence, but identifying addictions earlier.

"Even better treatment, better prevention, that way people could get identified earlier in their addiction, addiction cycle."

Meanwhile police are appealing to anyone who may have witnessed either incident to contact them, particularly if you saw a black station wagon or sedan in the area around noon.