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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.
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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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