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Content of holdup note leads to guilty plea in Hagerstown 'armed' robbery

Only evidence of weapon reportedly was in the note man gave to CVS pharmacist

December 27, 2011|By DON AINES | dona@herald-mail.com
  • In this image taken from surveillance video, a man enters the CVS Pharmacy on East Wilson Boulevard in Hagerstown on Aug. 19, 2011, prior to a robbery there. On Tuesday, William David McCullough pleaded guilty to armed robbery in the case.
File photo

HAGERSTOWN — What is written in a holdup note matters.

At least that was the case for William David McCullough, who pleaded guilty to armed robbery Tuesday in Washington County Circuit Court — although the only evidence of a weapon reportedly was in the note he gave to a pharmacist at the CVS on East Wilson Boulevard.

McCullough, 46, of 155 Summit Ave., Apt. 2, was charged by Hagerstown police with armed robbery, robbery, theft of less than $1,000 and second-degree assault in the Aug. 19 incident, in which he handed the pharmacist a note demanding Dilaudid tablets and syringes.

At one point during Tuesday’s hearing, Judge Donald E. Beachley questioned why McCullough was pleading guilty to armed robbery because “a note would not cause death or serious bodily harm.”

Assistant State’s Attorney Michele Hansen said the law states a person can be convicted of armed robbery “by displaying a written instrument claiming that the person is in possession of a dangerous weapon.”

The pharmacist told investigators that the note demanded the drugs, but also that the robber had written near the end words to the effect of “I have a gun, or I’ll shoot you,” Hansen said, reading from the charging documents.

After the plea hearing, Assistant Public Defender Charles Bailey said the note was not recovered by police.

A surveillance photo of the robber was made available to the media. Within days of the robbery, a man told police he had driven McCullough, a neighbor, to the CVS at his request, Hansen said during the hearing.

In exchange for the armed robbery plea, the other charges were dismissed, according to court records.

The prosecution will ask for a prison sentence of at least five years, Hansen told Beachley, while Bailey said he will argue for a lesser sentence.

Beachley delayed sentencing until a later date.

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