CLEARWATER, Fla. (January 2, 2020) — Sheriff’s deputies arrested two men for an armed robbery of a CVS pharmacy in unincorporated Clearwater on NewYear’s Day. The suspects allegedly brandished firearms during the robbery. Law enforcement officers reported that three suspects entered the store and stole drugs in a violently take-over style robbery, according to the Clearwater Patch. Deputies followed a trail of evidence to the location where two out of the three suspects were placed in custody. Investigators have not identified the third individual involved in the robbery to this point but continue to pursue leads. 

The New Year started violently for employees of the CVS pharmacy located at 30387 U.S. 19 North in Clearwater. Around 5:20 a.m., the pharmacy employees reported that three men entered the store. One man, who brandished a handgun, jumped the pharmacy counter and forced the pharmacist on duty to open two safes in which the pharmacy stored opioid pills. The two other men, also armed with firearms, bound two other employees behind their backs. The armed assailants fled from the store with garbage bags filled with opioid prescription pills.

Deputies soon arrived at the scene. They were able to obtain some information about the suspect vehicle the armed men used in the robbery. Deputies noted that the getaway car was a white sedan.

Deputies made further observations that help them solve the case. Investigators traced the path of flight the robbers took from the store by following a trail of medicine bottles. The trail of medicine bottles led the investigating deputies to a home on West Avenue in Clearwater. Deputies placed two nineteen-year-old men in custody at that location and charged them with the armed robbery. The other suspect was not found in the residence.

Deputies charged one man who is from Indiana, with armed robbery, three counts of false imprisonment, along with trafficking of oxycodone. The other man faces armed robbery and false imprisonment charges as well as one count of possession of oxycodone and two counts of trafficking in hydrocodone.

Section 13 of Chapter 812 of the Florida Statutes defines robbery as taking money or property from a person with the intent to deprive the person use or benefit of the stolen property and the suspected used force, violence, putting someone in fear, or assault. Armed robbery would be a first-degree felony in Florida punishable for any term of years up to life if the alleged perpetrator possessed a firearm during the commission of the crime. Robbery is a second-degree felony if the crime was not committed with a firearm but another weapon, then the crime is a first-degree felony, punishable by a term of years not to exceed 30. The convicted armed robber may also be placed on lifetime probation as well.

Robbery would be a second-degree felony offense if the suspect did not possess a weapon during the commission of the robbery. Robbery, when no weapon is used, is often referred to as “Strong Arm Robbery.” A second-degree robbery carries a maximum committed sentence of up to fifteen years in the state’s prison. The offender could also receive fifteen years probation as well.