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Sirens & Gavels

Posts tagged: pharmacy robberies

Man accused of robbing local pharmacy

A 30-year-old man has been arrested for robbing a north Spokane pharmacy of Oxycodone.

Paul Raymond Hunt, Jr., was arrested Monday for the June 5 robbery at Rite Aid, 12420 N. Highway 395.

Pharmacy employees identified him as the man who showed up at the store in a black baseball cap and sunglasses and slid one of them a note demanding Oxycodone. A pharmacist handed him a bottle of the drug, but he told him he knew there was more and waited for another bottle, according to court documents.

The pharmacist said he asked the man “are you sure you want to do this? There are cameras everywhere,” and the man replied “Just do it or something really bad will happen,” according to court documents.

Sheriff's deputies obtained surveillance video of the robbery. It's unclear how they identified Hunt as a suspect. He already was in jail on a residential burglary, drug and theft of a firearm charges after an arrest on Saturday. He appeared in Superior Court Tuesday on a charge of second-degree robbery.

2 more suspects ID’d in drug robbery

Two suspected accomplices have been charged with robbing a Spokane clinic of prescription drugs in December.

 Shawn Savynjo Struck, 41, was arrested this weekend on a second-degree robbery charge for allegedly helping Brian Lee “Rowdy” Riley rob the Spokane Falls Family Clinic, 120 W. Mission Ave. on Dec. 29. He remains in jail on $25,000 bond after appearing in court today.

Riley (pictured) was armed with a paintball gun when he robbed the clinic, police say. Struck held the door open for him, police say, and suspect Mary Jane Eilliot, 30, is accused of driving the getaway car. Elliot is wanted on a $30,000 warrant for second-degree robbery.

Riley pleaded guilty earlier this month to attempted second-degree robbery and second-degree robbery for the December case and for a gunpoint home-invasion robbery last August. He was sentenced to 27 months in prison.

Riley told Elliott he shot the pharmacist with his paintball gun and someone threw a bottle of Hydrocodone at him, according to court documents. Elliott said she drove Riley to the clinic in exchange for 45 pills, police say.

Riley's girlfriend, Erica M. Solberg, is charged with witness tampering for allegedly intimidating a witness in the case.
  

Cops: Paintball gun-toting robber ID’d

A 26-year-old convicted felon has been identified as a suspect in a robbery with a paintball gun at a Spokane clinic last month.

Brian Lee “Rowdy” Riley, 26, is in jail on a  first-degree robbery charge for the Dec. 29 drug heist at the Spokane Falls Family Clinic, 120 W. Mission Ave.

Sheriff's deputies seized the black Volvo used in he robbery from a parking lot at 921 S. Pines Road in Spokane Valley later that night. The owner said a man named Corey had borrowed the car and returned with a bag full of Hydrocodone pills. A week later, a jail inmate identified Riley as being responsible for the robbery.

One woman also told police a friend of her son's - who she later identified as Riley - had bragged about robbing the pharmacy and had talked about planning more robberies, including attacks on pharmacy delivery vehicles, according to court documents. Police say the man's cell phone was registered to Riley, which led them to search his home the 2300 block of North Hutchinson on Jan. 19, according to a search warrant.

Detectives say the Volvo's owner told them in another interview on Jan. 25 that she'd driven Riley to the clinic in exchange for 45 Hydrocodone pills. Riley told her he shot the pharmacist with his paintball gun and someone threw a bottle of Hydrocodone at him, according to court documents. She has not yet been charged.

Riley was arrested after a pursuit with sheriff's deputies on Jan. 27 near 9526 E. Broadway Ave. He remains in jail on $100,000 for second-degree robbery.

RIley also has a $150,000 bond for first-degree burglary and robbery charges for an alleged gunpoint home-invasion robbery last August. He was charged in that case in December but showed up for an arraignment and was out of jail awaiting trial when he allegedly robbed the pharmacy.

Sketch shows pharmacy robbery suspect

Detectives today released a sketch of a possible suspect in two gunpoint robberies at a Deer Park pharmacy.

 The first robbery at the Medicine Shoppe pharmacy, 11 E. H St., occurred Dec. 5 about 4:40 p.m. when a man demanded OxyContin and displayed a silver pistol that was in his waistband.

The pharmacy was robbed again Dec. 30 about 4 p.m. by a man who claimed he was armed with a gun but never displayed one.

The robber in both cases is described as a white man in his early 20s, 5-foot-4 to 5-foot-6 and thin, according to the Spokane County Sheriff's Office.

Anyone with information on the robberies or the robber's identity is asked to call Crime Check at (509) 456-2233.

Pharmacist who killed robber gets life

OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) — An Oklahoma pharmacist convicted of murder in the shooting death of a teenager who tried to rob the south Oklahoma City pharmacy where he worked was sentenced to life in prison with the possibility of parole Monday in spite of his defense attorney and supporters' pleas that he be set free.

Jerome Ersland, 59, showed no emotion as District Judge Ray Elliott imposed the sentence recommended by a 12-member jury that found Ersland guilty of first-degree murder in the May 19, 2009, shooting death of 16-year-old Antwun Parker during an attempted robbery at the Reliable Discount Pharmacy.

Ersland claimed he was defending himself and two female co-workers when he shot Parker after he and a second teenager came into the pharmacy wearing ski masks and demanding money and drugs. Parker, who was unarmed, was struck in the head and knocked out. Ersland chased the second armed teen, Jevontai Ingram, now 16, out of the store.

Prosecutors said Ersland was justified in firing the first shot but went too far when he grabbed a second gun and fired five more bullets into Parker's abdomen, wounds that the Medical Examiner's Office said killed him.

Ersland claimed the unconscious teen was still moving.

Ersland, shackled at the hands and feet in a jail-issued jumpsuit, stood before Elliott while defense attorney Irven Box asked the judge to suspend the life sentence.

When the judge asked if he had anything to say, Ersland replied: “I don't have anything to say. Thank you.” Later, as he was led from court by sheriff's deputies, he responded to a reporter's shouted question by calling the sentence “an injustice of a monumental proportion.”

Read the rest of the Associated Press story by clicking the link below.

4 shot dead in NY pharmacy robbery

People line up to view and bring flowers and memorials Wednesday at outside Haven Drugs pharmacy in Medford, N.Y. Four people were shot to death there during a weekend painkiller robbery. (AP Photo/Kathy Kmonicek)

By FRANK ELTMAN,Associated Press
CENTRAL ISLIP, N.Y. (AP) — Two years ago, they posed for a wedding photo: Him beaming broadly in a dark suit, she a pudgy fresh-faced bride. They soon started a promising life together in the suburban New York home where he was raised.

Police mug shots of David Laffer and Melinda Brady released Thursday portrayed an altogether different couple: Gaunt, stone-faced suspects charged with a drug-store robbery and the killings of two pharmacy employees and two customers on Father's Day.

Laffer, 33, had two black eyes and bruises all over his face during his arraignment on first-degree murder charges, where a court-appointed attorney entered a not guilty plea on his behalf.

 A police complaint says Laffer sustained the injuries when he grabbed for a police officer's weapon during a raid at his Medford home on Wednesday. He was tackled to the ground and placed in handcuffs, the complaint said.

Brady, 29, now many pounds lighter than her wedding photo, was being treated at a hospital for an undisclosed ailment, forcing authorities to temporarily postpone her arraignment. She is charged with robbery and obstructing governmental administration, although a prosecutor said Thursday that upgraded charges were likely.

Both were high on drugs when they were arrested, police said.

Read the rest of the AP story by clicking the link below.

Tips sought on ‘09 Idaho Oxy robberies

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North Idaho law enforcement is asking for help solving two OxyContin robberies from 2009.

The robberies - one an attempted - occurred Sept. 30, 2009, at Walgreens, 706 E. Seltice Way, in Post Falls at 5:28 p.m., and on Oct. 27 at the Walgreens at 260 W. Honeysuckle Ave. in Hayden at 5:59 p.m.

The robber left empty handed in Hayden after store clerks said none of the powerful painkiller was in stock. 

Surveillance photos (right) show him wearing black pants and a dark blue and black North Face winter coat with the hood over an orange billed beanie hat. A video is posted above.

Police said today that he displayed a silver handgun and wore black Vans type shoes, with brown or light colored soles.

The billed beanie hat in that robbery appears to be  the same beanie worn during the robbery in September.

In that case, a man with a bandanna covering his mouth (pictured above) handed an employee a note saying he had a gun and demanding the drug. He wore a tan and white sweatshirt and a fleece jacket.

Crime Stoppers is offering a reward for tips that solve either robbery. Anyone with information is asked to call (208) 667-2111 or 1-800-222-TIPS. Tipsters do not have to give their name to collect a reward but should use a code name or number.

OxyContin robber sentenced to 3 years

A man who robbed a Spokane pharmacy of OxyContin last May was sentenced recently to nearly three years in prison.

Robert K. Morris, 27, pleaded guilty to first-degree attempted robbery and was sentenced to 34 1/2 months in prison and ordered to pay $134 restitution.

Morris escaped the Walgreens at Division Street and Empire Avenue May 22 with just a small amount of pills; the stores have been keeping OxyContin in time-lock safes since fall 2009.

No charges were filed against Morris’ unsuspecting driver after the man passed a polygraph test. Morris was sentenced on Thursday and is in Spokane County Jail awaiting transport to state prison.

Tips sought on accused armed robber

UPDATE 12/2: Morris was arrested based on an anonymous tip.

A man accused of robbing a Spokane pharmacy of OxyContin last May is wanted by police after failing to show up for a court date.

No charges were filed against the unsuspecting driver of Robert K. Morris, 27, after the driver, a senior sound engineer for local radio stations, said he’d met the young man at a bar and was giving him a ride home.

But prosecutors charged Morris with first-degree robbery, and he pleaded not guilty and was allowed to leave jail pending trial. A $50,000 warrant for his arrest was issued after he didn’t show up for a Nov. 10 court hearing. Now Crime Stoppers is offering a reward for tips that lead to his arrest.

Morris was first arrested May 22 after police say he robbed the Walgreens at Division Street and Empire Avenue. The robber escaped with just a small amount of pills; the stores have been keeping OxyContin in time-lock safes since fall 2009.

Morris, 6-foot-1 and 170 pounds, has previous convictions for city theft, unlawful imprisonment, fourth-degree assault and harassment. He last gave his address as 17714 S. Wolfe Road in Cheney.

Anyone with information on his current location is asked to call Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-TIPS or submit tips online.

Police: Oxy robber dead after shooting self

A suspected serial OxyContin robber who shot himself after a police chase Tuesday died at a Spokane hospital the next day.  

Nicholas T. “Niko” Burden, 31, worked as a car salesman and lived with his girlfriend and baby daughter before detectives say he began feeding an apparent OxyContin addiction by robbing pharmacies.

He was hospitalized Tuesday after police say he shot himself in a stolen Jeep he used to flee an armed robbery at the Rite Aid at 2929 E. 29th Ave.

He was on life support Wednesday, and later died, according to a nursing supervisor at Providence Sacred Heart Medical Center.

Read the rest of my story here.

1 man sought in 2 OxyContin robberies

,One “very dangerous” man is responsible for two gunpoint OxyContin robberies at different Albertsons pharmacies in Spokane County this month, police announced today.  

Detectives released photos of the robber pulling a gun near a young girl July 23 at the store at 57th and Regal and pointing the firearm at a store employee as he ran out the westside front doors.

He ran to the west and then south before hew as picked up by someone in a white SUV “virtually identical to a 2007 or older Toyota Sequoia” according to a Crime Stoppers news release. (That model is pictured.)

Photos showing a hooded Hurley sweatshirt and makeshift mask worn in a July 9 armed robbery at the Albertsons at Trent and Argonne in Millwood, then discarded in a dumpster behind a nearby school district building, already are available. The outfit is similar to that worn during last week’s robbery.

  Purdue Pharma, the company that makes the powerful prescription drug, is offering a $1,000 reward through Crime Stoppers for tips that lead to an arrest.

The robber is described as a white man in his 20s, 6-feet to 6-foot-4 and thin.

Anyone with information is asked to call 1-800-222-TIPS or submit tips online. Tipsters don’t have to leave their name to collect a reward but should leave a code name or number.

$1,000 reward for tips on OxyContin robbery

The company that makes OxyContin is offering a  $1,000 reward for tips that solve a robbery at an Albertsons pharmacy in Millwood July 9.

Detectives last week released photos of the jacket and a knit hat used as a mask, which were in a dumpster behind a school district building.

The robber ran north to the building after leaving the Albertsons at Trent and Argonne with stolen OxyContin at 9:17 a.m. on July 9, Crime Stoppers said today.

The robber tried to flee out a back door, but ran out the front door after an alarm sounded. The man had a black semi-automatic handgun he kept pointed at an employee. He’d entered the store wearing a dark hooded Hurley jacket with the hood up, along with gray or faded denim jeans.

“He was hunched over with his arms crossed as if he was sick or injured,” according to a police news release. The man is described as white, about 6-foot-4 with a thin to medium build.

Along with the jacket and knit mask with makeshift holes for his eyes and mouth, the robber wore black running shoes and faded grey jeans.

OxyContin giant Purdue Pharma is offering the $1,000 reward through Crime Stoppers.The robbery is the second in the Sopakne area this month - the Albertsons at 57th and Regal was robbed of OxyContin Friday morning.

Anyone with information on the July 9 robbery is asked to call 1-800-222-TIPS or submit tips online.

Tipsters don’t have to leave their name to collect a reward but should leave a code name or number.

Pictures show armed OxyContin robber

A gunman robbed a South Hill pharmacy of OxyContin Friday morning.

The robber pointed a semi-automatic pistol at employees at the Albertsons  at 57th and Regal just after 9 a.m.

The man pulled the gun from his waistband as he approached the pharmacy from the dairy section and fled westbound from the store with the powerful prescription pain killer.

The robber ran south along the west side of Regal before a small white car picked him.

The gunman was described as white, in his late 20s or early 30s, 6-feet tall or slighter taller. He had  “bright blue eyes” and wore a gray hooded sweatshirt with the hood up and a piece of dark fabric across his face, along with blue, baggy jeans.

The store is the second Albertsons robbed of OxyContin this month. Crime Stoppers still is offering a reward for tips that help solve the July 9 robbery at the Trent and Argonne store.

Detectives don’t know if the robberies are related.

Walgreens, a once-prime target for OxyContin robbers has only been hit once since installing time-release safes to store the drug last fall. The company expanded the time-release safes to Idaho and Oregon this week.

Anyone with information on today’s robbery is asked to call Crime Check at (509) 456-2233.

Photos show robber’s clothes; tips sought

Crime Stoppers if offering a reward for tips that help identify the masked gunman who robbed a pharmacy of OxyContin last week. 

Detectives released photos of the jacket and a knit hat used as a mask today in hopes someone will recognize them and call for the reward.

Police found the items in a dumpster behind a school district building. The robber ran north to the building after leaving the Albertsons at Trent and Argonne with stolen OxyContin about 9:10 a.m. on July 9.

The man had a black semi-automatic handgun he kept pointed at an employee. He’d entered the store wearing a dark hooded Hurley jacket with the hood up, along with gray or faded denim jeans.

“He was hunched over with his arms crossed as if he was sick or injured,” according to a news release. 

The man was described as in his early to mid-20s, 6-feet tall to 6-foot-5.

Anyone with information on the robbery is asked to call Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-TIPS or submit tips online.

Tipsters don’t have to leave their name to collect a reward but should leave a code name or number.

Polygraph clears robbery suspect’s driver

No charges will be filed against a Spokane man arrested on suspicion of driving the getaway truck in an OxyContin robbery at a North Side Walgreens last week.

Although David L. Ratener, 55, was driving the truck, he passed two lie detector tests that showed he knew nothing of the alleged robbery by a young man whom he was driving from a downtown bar May 22. Spokane County Deputy Prosecutor Larry Steinmetz notified Ratener’s attorney, Tim Note, of the decision last week. 

Ratener got his truck back the next day. He also “got crash course in the justice system,” Ratener said today. 

Ratener was arrested with Robert K. Morris on May 22 after police said Morris robbed the Walgreens at Division Street and Empire Avenue of OxyContin, then fled in Ratener’s truck.

Morris, 26, is to be arraigned on a first-degree robbery charge June 21, but Ratener passed a police-administered polygraph that cleared him of wrongdoing, according to a letter by Steinmetz.

Today, Ratener said that Morris had told him he needed a ride to the Walgreens area to pick up money from a friend. Ratener parked his truck about a block from the store, and Morris returned a few minutes later and said they could leave. Nothing seemed suspicious. Minutes later, police were behind Ratener’s truck. He pulled over and their lights flashed; he looked over and saw Morris swallowing pills, he said.

“I didn’t know the Walgreens had been robbed until the police told me,” Ratener said. “Once they told me what happened it was like ‘how the hell did I get involved in this?’”

Between the robbery and the police stop, Ratener drove back by the pharmacy – another fact that helped his defense, Note said.

Still, “I don’t believe there’s anything Mr. Ratener could have said to avoid getting arrested,” Note said. “It looked bad.”

Ratener spent two days in jail before he was released on his own recognize after appearing in Spokane County Superior Court. He said he used skills learned in survival training in the military to get by.

Note said Ratener case was one of the most bizarre he’s seen.

He learned of the robbery in the news and “pictured some scraggly haired doper looking” man when he arrived at the jail to interview Ratener.

But the senior sound engineer for several Spokane radio stations hardly matched Note’s image of him.

Ratener’s upper middle-class lifestyle, Note said, affords him “no motive for a robbery.”

Past coverage: May 25: Driver was victim of circumstance, lawyer says

Robbery driver is sound pro for local radio

Just after police arrest two people described as major sources of OxyContin in the region, Spokane County see its first pharmacy robbery in several months.

But the incident early Saturday at 12 E. Empire Ave was “not the typical OxyContin theft,” the accused getaway driver’s lawyer said in court Monday.

David L. Ratener, 55, is the senior sound engineer for seven Spokane radio stations. He says he met the other suspect, 26-year-old Robert K. Morris, at a bar Friday night.

“I think he was purely a victim of circumstance on this,” said Ratener’s lawyer, Tim Note.

Read my story: Driver was victim of circumstance, lawyer says

Oxy dealer, pharmacy robber pleads guilty

An OxyContin dealer who helped rob two pharmacies faces at least five years in prison after pleading guilty to five felonies Tuesday.

 Aaron M. Weyrauch, 28, has been in jail since Sept. 15 after he led Spokane police on a chase through the South Hill, abandoned his car then was arrested in the back of another car with his robbery accomplice, Dustin J. Rockstrom and his roommate, Dalen J. McMillon.

Rockstrom, 27, was sentenced in March to 13 months in prison for two counts of second-degree robbery for pill heists at the Shopko at 4515 S. Regal St. on Aug. 24, then the Rite Aid across the street on Sept. 5.  Weyrauch was his getaway driver.

Weyrauch pleaded guilty Tuesday to two counts of attempted second-degree robbery, two counts of delivery of a controlled substance (OxyContin) and one count of attempting to elude police.

The plea deal with Deputy Prosecutor Dale Nagy amended the original second-degree robbery charges and will recommend a judge sentence Weyrauch to 60 months in prison, the low end of his standard sentencing range for the robbery charges. He could be sentenced to as many as 120 months.

The drug-dealing charges are related to transactions with a confidential informant on Sept. 8 and Sept. 10. McMillon, 27, also is charged in those incidents. He’s out of jail on bond.

Weyrauch remains in jail awaiting sentencing. Weyrauch’s convictions include second-degree unlawful possession of a firearm, unlawful imprisonment (domestic violence) and third-degree domestic violence assault, second degree possession of stolen property and conspiracy to possess a controlled substance - cocaine.

Before his criminal activity made the paper, Weyrauch was profiled in the Spokesman-Review Valley Voice as a successful skier who qualified for the Junior Olympics. A ski coach was impressed with Weyrauch’s dedication to the sport. Read the story from 1997 here.

Past coverage:

March 9: Wigged OxyContin robber gets 13 months

March 3: Suspect’s roomie accused of selling Oxy

Nov. 18: Another charge for Oxy robbery suspect

Sept. 22: Searching for robber, police find possible Oxy ring

2 men accused of 3 robberies in CdA

Three robberies in Coeur d’Alene late Wednesday and early today are believed to be the work of two men arrested with OxyContin stolen from a pharmacy. 

Michael D. Frank (right), 20, and Stephen J. Beck (below, left), 23, were arrested after police spotted them in Nissan that matched the description of the getaway car used in an attempted robbery Piggies Deli & Market, 2001 E. Sherman Ave., about 8:30 p.m.

In that case, a store clerk refused to hand over cash to the gunman, who fled in the Nissan.

  Police say Frank and Beck robbed Walgreens, 335 W. Appleway Ave., of a small amount of OxyContin about 5 a.m. after another failed robbery attempt at Taj Market, 1003 N. 15th St., about midnight.

Witnesses to the Piggies incident described the getaway driver as a woman, but Sgt. Christie Wood said only Frank and Beck appear to be responsible for the crimes.

Wood said the men are not suspects in other robberies in the area. The men were booked into Kootenai County Jail on robbery charges.

Beck was wanted on a misdemeanor warrant in Oneida County, Idaho and has a previous conviction in Montana for drug possession. Frank, alias Michael Daniel Lehti, went to prison for robbing a woman at gunpoint outside the Silver Lake Mall in 2007. He’s on parole, police said.

Photos show OxyContin robbery suspects








Surveillance photos show two men who police believe robbed a Post Falls pharmacy of OxyContin on Sunday.

The men did not display a weapon but handed an employee a threatening note demand the powerful prescription painkiller about 11:10 a.m.

The robbers entered and exited through the front door of Walgreens, 706 E. Seltice Way, and were last seen leaving on foot, police said.

Both men are described as in their late 20s to early 30s.

One suspect has a medium build and round face with a mustache and slight beard, along with short, dark hair. He wore a black baseball hat, wire-framed glasses, a black long-sleeved shirt, dark jeans and white tennis shoes.

The second suspect has a thin build, “pointed features,” dark, trimmed hair, a lsight beard and wore a blue, long-sleeved shirt, tan pants, a brown belt and brown shoes.

Anyone with information is asked to call Post Falls polite at (208) 773-3517 or (208) 777-COPS. Tips can be submitted anonymously at www.postfallspolice.com.

The same Walgreens was robbed Sept. 30.

‘Snitch’ assailant in robbery case sentenced

A man who helped rob a pharmacy last fall, then threatened a witness, will spend about 11 months in jail.

William E. Higgins, 22, pleaded guilty last week to conspiracy to commit first-degree armed burglary and received 11.25 months in jail and 12 months probation. The next day, he received four months in jail after pleading guilty to tampering with a witness and possession of a controlled substance.

Higgins waited in the car as when Ariel A. Arrieta robbed the Rite Aid at 5520 N. Division of OxyContin at gunpoint on Sept. 27. He posted bond but returned to jail March 17 after a witness in the case, Ben Rasmussen, said Higgins punched him and called him a “snitch” in a Deer Park park on March 6.

Rasmussen was charged with first-degree robbery for his alleged role in the heist earlier this month.

Arrieta, 21, pleaded guilty to conspiracy ton commit first-degree robbery and faces 20 to 30 months in prison when sentenced in August.

A fourth defendant, Jed L. Boles, 32. remains in jail.

April 19: Woman, 21, pleads guilty to Oxy robbery

April 14: Robbery tipster now accused of robbery

March 23: Police: Oxy robbery targeted witness

Oct. 19: 2 men sought in Spokane pharmacy robbery

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