Alleged pharmacy robber held on bail
By ERIC FRANCIS
HERALD CORRESPONDENT | November 24,2012
ERIC FRANCIS PHOTOS
George Akroyd III, 22, of Tunbridge waived extradition back to Vermont after he was identified as the suspect in the Oct. 30 robbery of oxycontin from a pharmacy in South Royalton.
WHITE RIVER JUNCTION — An unemployed construction worker accused of holding up the Rite-Aid pharmacy in South Royalton on Oct. 30 in order to obtain a bottle of oxycontin was arraigned this week.
George Akroyd III, 22, of Tunbridge was arrested in New Hampshire and waived extradition back to Vermont, where he entered an innocent plea to a felony charge of robbery in connection with the incident.
Akroyd, a 2009 Chelsea School graduate with no prior Vermont criminal record, was ordered held for lack of $2,500 bail after Judge Robert Gerety noted his lifelong ties to the area but also pointed to “some hemmin’ and hawin’ that was going on” after Akroyd was notified that Vermont authorities had developed him as a suspect and wanted him to turn himself in.
Vermont State Police used surveillance camera video from several businesses in South Royalton to piece together a description of the robber who entered the Rite-Aid on Oct. 30 and “hung around” for about 10 minutes before walking up to a pharmacy assistant and handing over a note saying that he had a gun and wanted oxycontin.
The terrified clerk told troopers afterwards that the suspect had briefly pulled up his sweatshirt to flash some sort of object tucked into the waistband of his pants that she took to be a firearm, so she opened a safe and gave him a bottle of the drug at which point he left the store and ran off into a nearby wooded area on foot.
Employees told investigators that while they did not know the suspect, they believed they recognized him as being someone who had shopped at the pharmacy in the past.
The description given by police, especially of the clothing the suspect was wearing, led to several tips from the public that led troopers to believe Akroyd was the perpetrator. Officers said they began calling him earlier this month asking him to come speak with them. Despite assurances that he was on his way to do so, it was not until New Hampshire authorities came across him in their state and arrested him on the outstanding warrant that he was returned to Vermont to face the charges, prosecutors said Wednesday. Akroyd faces a maximum potential penalty of up to 10 years in prison if he were to be convicted of the felony charge now pending against him.