Alleged pharmacy robbers to be detained before trial

Eric L. Bates, Yasar J. Burnett and Brandon Dawson robbed a Middletown Rite Aid on April 29; an FBI complaint lists 26 robberies that happend in a similar fashion.

All three suspects who allegedly robbed a Middletown pharmacy will be detained before trial, a federal judge ruled Tuesday.

Eric L. Bates, 20, Yasar J. Burnett, 18 and Brandon Dawson, 18 were ordered to remain incarcerated without bond while they await trial in Dayton’s U.S. District Court. All three were in federal court in orange-and-white Butler County Jail clothing.

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They were charged in a complaint and affidavit as possibly being connected to a string of 26 pharmacy robberies between October 2016 and April 2017.

U.S. District Court Magistrate Judge Sharon Ovington ruled that no set of bond conditions could safely secure their appearance. All three are scheduled for May 18 preliminary hearings.

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They were arrested May 4 and charged with conspiracy and interference with commerce by threat or violence for robbing the Rite Aid at 1915 Central Ave. in Middletown on April 29, according to a criminal complaint written by FBI special agent Patrick Gragan.

During the court hearing it was learned that Dawson and Burnette have active warrants in Indiana and Bates has a history of violating probation.

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Dawson’s attorney for the hearing, federal public defender Thomas Anderson, asked to be removed from the case because another attorney in his office has talked with another possible defendant in a possibly related case. Ovington ruled that Anderson will be replaced to avoid any conflict.

Of the 26 robberies or attempted robberies, 22 have been at CVS pharmacies, with the South Breiel Boulevard location in Middletown having been hit three times.

RELATED: Up to four suspects in Harrison Twp. CVS robbery

Burnett and Bates admitted to the April 29 robbery, the complaint said, while Burnett said they were going to sell the drugs and Bates said they were going to meet a middle man in Indianapolis.

The complaint said the pharmacist said two black males in dark clothing — one with gold teeth — jumped over the counter, struck her in the back and yelled, “Open the safe. Where is the safe?” The pharmacist filled a bag with items, including Oxycontin and a GPS tracking device, according to Gragan.

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From Oct. 1, 2016 until April 30, 2017, a string of pharmacy robberies using the same “modus operandi” happened in Dayton, Dublin, Beavercreek, Vandalia, Cincinnati, Fairfield, Middletown, Franklin, Hamilton, Westerville, Columbus, Trotwood and Kettering.

Middletown police detectives said they sent photos of the suspects to police agencies throughout the tri-state and were alerted that photos of the suspects matched pharmacy robbery suspects in other states.


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