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They held up a Clearwater CVS. A trail of pill bottles led cops to their door, police say

The alleged robbers made off with garbage bags full of opioids worth about $320,000. But they shouldn’t have tossed the empty bottles out the car window.

CLEARWATER — The three men who held up a CVS Pharmacy on New Year’s Day planned their moves meticulously.

The robbers hit at 5 a.m. They wore blue surgical gloves so they wouldn’t leave prints. They waved guns at employees and bound several of them with zip ties. Detectives would later review store surveillance video that showed one of the suspects casing the place the day before.

And they made off with a boatload of drugs in white garbage bags — more than 10,000 pills that contained the opioids hydrocodone and oxycodone, according to the Pinellas County Sheriff’s Office. It had an estimated street value of about $320,000.

Related: A drug house has been operating 315 feet from Largo High School, police say

But as detectives investigated the area around the store, located at 30387 U.S. 19 N, they started noticing pill bottles, according to an arrest warrant. The robbers, it appeared, had emptied the bottles as they made their getaway, then tossed them out the window of their car.

Detectives started following the pill bottles like bread crumbs, eventually leading to a house at 1045 West Ave. There, they found the same White Chrysler 200 that had been recorded on surveillance camera fleeing the scene. White cotton and a pill bottle cap lay on the ground nearby.

The deputies detained the two men inside the Chrysler: Christopher Rachell Jr. and David Dobbins, both 19. They matched the descriptions of two of the robbers seen inside the store, detectives said.

They found more evidence on Dobbins’s cellphone. He had recorded videos of the suspects in the same room as a bed strewn with pills and clear plastic baggies. Videos also showed them handling a white garbage bag near the pills — the same type of bag with which the suspects were seen fleeing, reports state.

Related: Two men charged with operating Clearwater drug house where several overdoses occurred

The videos helped them identify Roy Lampkin as a collaborator. The 18-year-old could be seen in the video handling a clear plastic bag that contained round white pills, reports state, and his fingerprints were found on one of the white garbage bags and on a plastic bag of opioid pills.

Though the warrant does not name Lampkin as one of the suspected robbers, it says he was captured on CVS’s surveillance video before the crime. He entered the building at about 3:52 a.m. on Jan. 1 and asked the pharmacist a question. He was arrested on Feb. 5 on charge of drug trafficking.

Rachell and Dobbins were arrested Jan. 1. Each faces one count of armed robbery, two counts of trafficking in illegal drugs and three counts of false imprisonment. Dobbins remains in the Pinellas County jail, held in lieu of $280,000 bail. Rachell, who also faces a charge of possession of oxycodone, is being held in lieu of $282,000 bail.

Lampkin faces two counts of drug trafficking. His bail is $500,000.

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