Police catch suspect in rash of pharmacy robberies

Police say he is suspect in rash of threatening thefts from pharmacies

10/16/2011 12:00 AM

10/17/2011 7:34 AM

Detectives with the Rock Hill Police Department have charged a man who is considered a suspect in a weeks-long string of pharmacy robberies in both South Carolina and North Carolina that has terrified employees as thieves sought powerful painkillers.

The arrest in a spree targeting pharmacies for strong opioids came just hours after a pharmacy company offered a $6,000 reward in the case where police in both states had formed a task force to try to stop the crimes.

Ronald Carl Sims, 28, who has no known permanent address, was arrested late Friday in the parking lot of the Target department store in Rock Hill on a charge of possession of stolen goods, said Lt. Brad Redfearn, spokesman for Rock Hill police.

Redfearn declined to comment on any other cases but confirmed that detectives are "looking into the possibility that the man in custody might be involved in the robbery at the Bi-Lo on Cherry Road."

At the Bi-Lo, a robber put a hand inside his jacket as if he had a gun, reports said, then told a clerk to "Give me all you got" before fleeing with Dilaudid, a powerful prescription painkiller that is a street favorite of both drug abusers and dealers.

After the Bi-Lo robbery Oct. 1, police with Rock Hill and the York County Sheriff's Office said that the robbery might be connected to a similar robbery Oct. 2 at the CVS on S.C. 160 near Fort Mill, and the late September robbery of the Harris-Teeter pharmacy on Celanese Road just outside the Rock Hill city limits.

At the CVS, a man demanded Dilaudid, and at the Harris-Teeter the man threatened an employee after asking for painkillers.

Sims is a suspect in both the CVS and Harris-Teeter robberies, said Lt. Mike Baker, spokesman for the York County Sheriff's Office.

The Harris-Teeter in Indian Land in northern Lancaster County was robbed Tuesday, after the Walmart pharmacy in Indian land was robbed Sunday. A Ballantyne-area Rite-Aid pharmacy just north of Indian Land in North Carolina was robbed Oct. 2, and another Rite-Aid on Arrowood Road in south Charlotte was robbed Oct. 7.

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