30, Being Held In
At Medicine Shoppe
BY BILL JONES
A woman accused of robbing the Medicine Shoppe pharmacy on Tusculum Boulevard on Friday morning, July 3, is facing a federal charge in connection with the incident.
A federal criminal complaint against Samantha Jo Arwood, 30, of 127 Whispering Lane, Greeneville, was filed Monday in U.S. District Court in connection with the armed robbery by GPD Lt. Tim Hartman, the arresting officer.
The federal complaint alleges that Arwood violated Title 18 of the United States Code by committing an armed robbery of the Medicine Shoppe pharmacy at 910-A Tusculum Boulevard.
If convicted, Arwood faces a possible maximum sentence of up to 25 years in federal prison, plus a fine of up to $250,000.
Arwood also was charged last week by Greeneville police in state court with aggravated robbery.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Rob Reaves said this morning that although prosecutions in both courts could go forward, state charges often are dropped if federal charges are filed.
Whether state charges will go forward is up to the Third Judicial District Attorney General's office, Reaves said.
"On July 3, according to employees, Samantha Jo Arwood entered the Medicine Shoppe pharmacy and pointed a firearm at customers and employees," the complaint said. "Arwood gave employees a note demanding various controlled substances including Oxycodone. Pharmacy employees gave her controlled substances with a replacement value of over $5,000."
The complaint notes that the Medicine Shoppe pharmacy is registered with the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA).
While the robbery was taking place an employee called Greeneville police, according to the complaint.
"Your affiant (Lt. Hartman) arrived at the pharmacy and an employee opened the door and was screaming 'she has a gun,' " Lt. Hartman wrote in the complaint. "Your affiant drew his firearm and ordered Arwood to drop the gun.
"Awood complied on the second command. She also dropped the drugs and money she had taken from the pharmacy employees. Arwood was taken into custody at that time. The firearm was a Hi-Point 9-mm semiautomatic pistol and was loaded with a round in the chamber."
A pharmacy clerk told The Greeneville Sun last Friday that she was behind the counter when the woman entered the business about 11 a.m. and pointed a handgun at a customer briefly before turning the weapon on her (the clerk), yelling, "Get out here and lock the door!"
"I was scared to death," the clerk said. "I told her I didn't have the key. The pharmacist ... had it," she added.
The pharmacist locked the door, leaving the keys in the lock, the clerk said, and the suspect produced a handwritten list of the drugs she wanted, which included morphine, OxyContin, fentinel, and various other narcotics and controlled drugs.
"She knew exactly what she wanted," the clerk said, still shaken from the experience.
"She held the gun on us while we put the drugs in a green bag she brought, and then she grabbed some of the cash from the register. She still had the gun on me and told me to walk in front of her to the door to unlock it," the clerk said.
"That's when I saw the officer. I was terrified that she would shoot me, and I kind of ducked under his arm and ran out the door, crying," the clerk said.
Two other people had been in the back of the pharmacy when the incident began, the clerk said, and they ran out the back and called 911.
Officer Hartman was at the police station when the call came in and rushed to the scene. It was "fast ... maybe two minutes," he said.
Hartman said that when he approached the door, a woman (the clerk) screamed and ran past him and he saw the suspect with her handgun pointing at him.
"I drew my weapon and ordered her to drop her gun and get on the floor," Hartman said.
She complied, and was later seen being brought out of the pharmacy in handcuffs and being put into the back of a patrol car.
Arwood is being held at the Greene County Detention Center on $150,000 bond.