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Aborted robbery leads to chase in Citrus, Hernando counties

SPRING LAKE — Deputies from Hernando and Citrus counties arrested two men Monday afternoon and were continuing to search for a third man suspected in the robbery of a Walgreens store in Homosassa.

Martin Curtis Carr Jr., 23, of Brooksville entered the store at U.S. 19 and Grover Cleveland Boulevard about 10:15 a.m. and slid a note to a clerk, demanding 30 milligrams of oxycodone hydrochloride, according to the Citrus County Sheriff's Office.

But before the clerk handed him the pills, authorities said, Carr inexplicably rushed out of the store and jumped into the passenger seat of a black Lincoln LS waiting outside.

"Something apparently must have spooked him," said Gail Tierney, a spokeswoman with the Citrus Sheriff's Office. "He never displayed a weapon and didn't get anything as a result of this robbery."

The driver of the car led deputies on a 30-mile chase that ended when the vehicle crashed into a fence in the rural, brushy area near Neff Lake and Mountain Lake, south and west of Spring Lake.

Authorities said witnesses saw three men, including Carr, abandon the car and flee from deputies, who were close behind.

The other two suspects were identified as Brian Auberten, 24, of Masaryktown and Jonathan Duplain, 22, address unknown, according to the Hernando County Sheriff's Office.

Deputies used helicopters and canine units to track down the trio in the heavily wooded area of southeast Hernando.

After eluding authorities for about two hours, Carr was captured about 2:15 p.m. near the area where the car was left behind. He was taken to the Hernando County Jail and faces charges of robbery and violation of probation, Hernando sheriff's spokeswoman Sgt. Donna Black said.

Tierney said Carr was charged Monday with two counts of robbery in Citrus, including one for the April 28 robbery of another Walgreens in Homosassa. His bail will be set at $20,000.

Carr has had legal troubles in Hernando before; he's been arrested multiple times on charges ranging from grand theft and burglary to possession of drug paraphernalia.

After apprehending Carr, authorities caught Auberten about two hours later in the 2600 block of Powell Road. Auberten was also taken to Hernando County Jail. His charges weren't immediately available.

Duplain was described as a white male with short black hair; he was last seen wearing a blue shirt with shorts and black Reebok sneakers. Hernando sheriff's dispatchers used the Code Red alert system warning residents in the Neff Lake and Mountain Lake area to stay inside and be on the lookout for Duplain. "If anyone sees someone who is muddy and dirty and looks suspicious," Black said, "they should call 911."

This was the second robbery of the Walgreens at U.S. 19 and Grover Cleveland this year.

In all, seven pharmacies in Citrus County have been robbed in the past year. Most of the crimes centered around oxycodone, the active ingredient in powerful painkiller OxyContin.

Similar robbery sprees in Pinellas County prompted Walgreens to remove OxyContin from some of its drugstores in that county. As a result, the Citrus Sheriff's Office recently formed a pharmacy diversion unit to help stop the robberies of pharmacies and the abuse of prescription drugs.

"Certainly, we're responding to these calls," Tierney said. "But it's really up to the pharmacies in terms of what their security measures are going to be."

Joel Anderson can be reached at joelanderson@sptimes.com or (352) 754-6120.

Aborted robbery leads to chase in Citrus, Hernando counties 05/05/08 [Last modified: Monday, May 5, 2008 7:59pm]
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