Man caught after theft at LaPlace pharmacy

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, February 12, 2008


Staff Reporter

LAPLACE – An Alexandria man armed with a stapler pilfered an assortment of prescription drugs from a LaPlace pharmacy last Friday, said a spokesman for the St. John Sheriff’s Office.

The culprit, 25-year-old Albert J. Matthews, was apprehended a short time later in the 100 block of Belle Terre Boulevard. Maj. Mike Tregre, public information officer for the SJSO, said Matthews was sitting in a stolen van and drinking codeine he took from the Winn Dixie pharmacy, 1830 W. Airline Hwy.

According to a sheriff’s office report, Matthews approached the supermarket’s pharmacy counter just before 11 a.m., jumped the barrier, and demanded codeine, Vicodin, and other prescription medications.

Investigators said Matthews told the pharmacy staff he was armed with a gun, which was stuck in his belt. It was later revealed that the object was in fact a stapler that Matthews lifted from the pharmacy counter.

Tregre said the pharmacy staff complied with Matthews’ demands. He said once the drugs were provided, Matthews also allegedly grabbed several previously filled prescriptions, threw them in a nearby garbage can, grabbed the plastic bag inside the can, and ran out the store toward Belle Terre Boulevard. Tregre said no money was taken in the robbery.

Deputies found Matthews minutes later sitting in a van near the scene. The van had been reported stolen earlier that morning in Alexandria.

Tregre said the charges against Matthews include armed robbery, possession of stolen property, theft of prescriptions, and illegal possession of schedule 4 narcotics. Matthews is being held at the Sherman Walker Correctional Facility in LaPlace on $96,500 bond.