PLATTSBURGH — The man who robbed Walgreens on Route 3 in Plattsburgh on Tuesday escaped with nearly $30,000 worth of prescription drugs.
“At this time, we are tracking down several leads,” Plattsburgh City Police Chief Desmond Racicot said Wednesday afternoon.
At about 2:30 p.m. Tuesday, a Caucasian man believed to be in his late 20s to early 30s, tall, thin and with a black goatee, calmly walked to the pharmacy counter in the back of Plattsburgh store, where he slipped a note to the pharmacist saying he was armed with a knife and demanded prescription painkillers.
He fled with quantities of narcotics Oxycontin and Oxycodone.
In Walgreens, he was wearing dark glasses, a black cap under a gray hoodie with a white design on the front and blue jeans.
City Police, assisted by State Police, the Clinton County Sheriff’s Department, Plattsburgh State University Police and U.S. Customs and Border Protection Border Patrol blanketed the area, searching on foot and from the air. Canine units were deployed in the woods behind the strip of Cornelia Street where Walgreens, Burger King and numerous other shops and restaurants sit in close proximity.
Racicot said the multi-agency investigation was continuing and had stretched across Lake Champlain to South Burlington, where a Walgreens was robbed on the afternoon of July 2.
There are similarities in the two heists, he said.
The man who held up that store pharmacy is also described as white, tall and slender; he also claimed to have a knife and demanded prescription pills.
“We don’t know that there was a connection, but we shared information just in case there was,” Racicot said.
In both cases, police are relying on surveillance video from the stores to help identify the suspect.
“It’s a long process,” the chief said.
NBT ROBBER STILL HUNTED
The Walgreens robbery in Plattsburgh happened just eight days after NBT Bank was robbed on Route 3 in the Town of Plattsburgh, just a mile away (the city’s Cornelia Street turns into Route 3 as it enters the town).
Oneil O. Stephenson, 33, of Brooklyn, also known as Philippe Francois, was named the suspect in that crime on Friday, July 6, and authorities were still looking for him as of Wednesday night.
“We have received several calls since the ID was released, said Troop B Bureau of Criminal Investigation Capt. Robert LaFountain, noting the Troop B Violent Crime Invest Team and assisting agencies were following up on a total 198 leads as of Wednesday afternoon.
Stephenson, who is black and heavyset, has numerous tattoos, including the word “FLATBUSH” in large letters on his right forearm and the faces of two women and also a teddy bear on his right shoulder and upper arm.
The robber passed a note to a teller saying he had a gun and wanted cash; police consider him armed and dangerous.
State Police were networking with authorities in South Burlington as well, where on July 5, a slender black man held up the NBT Bank on Dorset Street, showing a gun and possibly escaping on a bicycle.
“But we still have no indication the South Burlington robbery and this robbery were connected,” LaFountain said.
NBT Bancorp is offering a reward of as much as $10,000 for information that leads to the arrest and conviction of the Plattsburgh bank robber.
Anyone with information about the Walgreens holdup is asked to contact Plattsburgh City Police at 565-3411.
Call State Police about the whereabouts of Stephenson at 563-3761.
News Editor Suzanne Moore contributed to this report.