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Hedgesville man arraigned in robbery of Moore's Pharmacy

June 26, 2013|By MATTHEW UMSTEAD | matthewu@herald-mail.com

MARTINSBURG, W.Va. — A Hedgesville, W.Va., man has been charged in five pharmacy robbery cases in Berkeley and Washington counties in the last six months, according to court documents.

Jesse Lee Gibson, 27, was arraigned Wednesday by Berkeley County Magistrate Harry L. Snow on one count of robbery in connection with the June 18 holdup at Moore’s Pharmacy in Old Courthouse Square shopping plaza in Martinsburg.

Snow set a $100,000 cash-only bond for Gibson, who was being held Wednesday night in Eastern Regional Jail, according to court and jail records.

Police said a man entered Moore’s pharmacy, handed a cashier a list of medications he wanted, said he had a gun and did not want to hurt anyone, according to court documents.

The suspect obtained a box of fentanyl patches and single, 100-count bottles of hydromorphone and methadone tablets, the documents said.

He also obtained syringes before fleeing in a white Dodge minivan, the  documents said. Afterward, police were unable to locate the suspect.

Four days later, police said a male tried to rob Walgreens in Martinsburg, where he threatened to blow up the store by triggering a bomb with his mobile phone if he did not get the medication he wanted.

Before the suspect — later identified as Gibson — was captured, police said he led them on a vehicle chase. Their pursuit ended in the vicinity of the 21-mile marker on Interstate 81 north of Martinsburg.

After being arrested, police said Gibson indicated in a statement that he was a drug addict and did not have “a clear memory” of the Moore’s pharmacy robbery, but also said he acted alone, the documents said.

Police said the defendant also stated that he did not own or have access to a firearm and would not have hurt anyone, the documents said.

In addition to Gibson’s statement, police said national drug code and lot numbers on two fentanyl patches found in the getaway vehicle that Gibson was driving linked him to the Moore’s pharmacy robbery, the documents said.

The numbers on the patches matched those on the items that were stolen, the documents said.

The robberies in Martinsburg last week came only a few months after Gibson was released on bonds in March that were set for three prior pharmacy robbery cases in which he was implicated.

The Hagerstown incidents occurred Jan. 21 at the Rite Aid pharmacy at 901 N. Burhans Blvd. and at Weis Market, 12817 Shank Farm Way.

The other occurred at the Walmart in Spring Mills, W.Va., on Jan. 22.

In the Rite Aid case, Gibson is accused of taking a bottle of alprazolam, which is generic Xanax, according to court documents.

In the Weis Market case, the suspect asked for Xanax but did not get any pills after being told police were on the way to the store, the documents said. Store employees never saw a weapon that the suspect claimed to have, the  documents said.

During the investigation, police in Maryland learned about the Walmart robbery, which also involved Xanax pills, the documents said.

The investigation of the robbery at Rite Aid and attempted robbery at the Weis Markets pharmacy led to communication about the incidents with state police in Pennsylvania and West Virginia.

Gibson is scheduled to make an appearance in Washington County Circuit Court on July 9 to be arraigned on multiple counts of robbery and theft of less than $1,000 value for the two Maryland cases, the documents said.

The Spring Mills Walmart robbery case is pending in Berkeley County Magistrate Court, the documents said.  A scheduled preliminary hearing in April for the case was continued, and a new date had not been set as of Wednesday, the documents said.

A preliminary hearing for the Walgreens attempted robbery case has been scheduled for July 2, the documents said.

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