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The Spokesman-Review Newspaper

The Spokesman-Review Newspaper The Spokesman-Review

Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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Sirens & Gavels

OxyContin robberies hit high

After a relatively quiet period, Spokane has seen a surge in pharmacy robberies.

At least three robberies and one attempted robbery have occurred since the beginning of June.

Nicholas A. Blessing, 28, (right), who's accused of stealing OxyContin from the Walgreens at 2105 E. Wellesley Ave. on June 16, turned himself in on June 28.

Only July 6, another man robbed the Rite Aid drugstore at 29th Avenue and Regal Street of OxyContin. Tom E. Snell, 24, was arrested Friday for first-degree robbery.

Search warrants show detectives had little trouble solving either robbery.

Tips poured in referencing Blessing after police released a surveillance photo,

A detective contacted Blessing's family, who agreed to help him turn himself in.

"(Blessing's father) states that Nicholas told him that five minutes after he had done the robbery he knew he had made a mistake," according to a search warrant prepared by Spokane police Detective Marty Hill.

In Snell's case, witnesses and a tipster led police to identify him as a suspect.

Witnesses identified the robber's getaway car as a blue Toyota pickup, and a tip based on a news report led police to 7th Avenue and Adams Street.

There, they found a truck matching the description from the robbery. It was registered to Snell in Nine Mile Falls, according to a search warrant. Snell was arrested July 10.

Both accused robbers remain in Spokane County Jail.

Public safety news from the Inland Northwest and beyond.