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Police: St. Petersburg man robbed pharmacy because of painkiller addiction

ST. PETERSBURG — Patrick Whelan told police he was addicted to painkillers.

The 39-year-old's girlfriend stole his most recent prescription of oxycodone, according to police. His doctor wouldn't give him more unless he had a police report. And police weren't receptive when he called, he told them.

So he went to the Walgreen's Pharmacy at 5420 Martin Luther King St. N with a 9 mm handgun, according to police. At 4:30 p.m., he approached the pharmacist.

"In one minute put as much oxy in the bag as you can," he told the pharmacist, according to a police report.

The pharmacist placed several oxycodone bottles in a bag. Whelan took them and left the store, police said.

Another Walgreen's employee went outside and saw Whelan get into a late-'90s gold Toyota Corolla, police said. The employee copied the tag number and gave it to police.

Officers went to 7228 Organdy Drive, the address to which the vehicle was registered. Whelan was seen leaving the house in the gold Toyota, so police stopped him, authorities said.

Witnesses were brought to the scene and positively identified Whelan as the robber, police said.

Whelan told police he committed the robbery because of his addiction. He had a motorcycle accident and he said he became addicted after taking them legally, according to police.

He allowed officers to search his home. The gun was found under his bed, and the pills — 10 bottles of oxycodone and four of oxycontin — were in a dresser drawer, police said. He stole about 600 pills, police said.

The handgun was also stolen, the report stated.

Whelan was charged with armed robbery and remained in the Pinellas County Jail on Monday in lieu of $50,000 bail.

Police: St. Petersburg man robbed pharmacy because of painkiller addiction 08/23/10 [Last modified: Monday, August 23, 2010 6:10pm]
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