A 34-year-old Alberta man has been charged in connection with a rash of pharmacy robberies in Windsor and Lakeshore and is believed to be responsible for as many as 12 heists across Southwestern Ontario.
Police say the suspect, formerly a Sarnia resident, is responsible for a rash of robberies last winter in Lakeshore: a Dec. 12, 2016 robbery near Tecumseh Rd and Comber Sideroad, and three robberies on Advance Boulevard on Dec. 14, 2016, Jan. 18 and Feb. 14.
Windsor police say the suspect is also responsible for a string of robberies in the fall in east Windsor.
Police allege the suspect is responsible for two robberies on Oct. 24, 2016 -- one east of McDougall St on Tecumseh Road East and the second on Forest Glade Drive just north of the arena.
Police also allege the suspect hit two pharmacies on Nov. 4, 2016 -- the first on Tecumseh Road East east of Mercer, and the second east of Ford Blvd. on Tecumseh Road East. Police allege the suspect also perpetrated a Dec. 8, 2016 robbery in the area of 5400 Tecumseh Road East.
The inter-provincial investigation spanned the country and involved the RCMP, OPP and municipal police forces from Windsor, Sarnia and Calgary.
The suspect was arrested in Calgary and is in custody facing charges there. An arrest warrant has been issued by the OPP and the suspect will eventually be brought to a Windsor court and formally arraigned on 12 counts of robbery and 12 counts of disguise with intent.
Cooperation between OPP, RCMP, and municipal forces
Police forces in Southwestern Ontario credit teamwork and "good old fashioned police work" for tracking down the common element in the alleged robberies.
"Quite often patterns will emerge... so when we started comparing notes or sharing intelligence with our partner agencies... there was enough grounds to lay charges," said Sgt. Steve Betteridge with Windsor Police.
"The arrest of the individual responsible for multiple pharmacy robberies in SW Ontario and Alberta brings an end to a series of violent crimes that impacted our communities," said Essex County OPP detachment commander Glenn Miller in a release.
"This multi-jurisdictional investigation demonstrated the tenacity of a dedicated team of investigators who successfully collaborated with several agencies, leading to the arrest of a former Sarnia resident in Calgary."