Police are crediting two clerk at a local pharmacy with helping catch a man police said is responsible for a string of OxyContin and oxycodone robberies and thefts from pharmacies in Madison and other surrounding communities.
The manager of the DeForest pharmacy where the suspected thief was arrested said he's glad someone is in custody.
“Pharmacies are held up every day, but this particular guy seems to have been stopped," said DeForest Hometown Pharmacy manager Jim Butcher. “We don't have to anticipate it anymore.”
Madison police joined with DeForest police and the FBI at a news conference Thursday to talk about the arrest and the investigation into 20 incidents of robbery and theft reported since mid-November.
"He came into the pharmacy, made contact with a pharmacist, asked for a prescription," said DeForest police Lt. Dan Furseth.
Police said they arrested Tony D. Taylor, 35, of Delavan, Tuesday afternoon in DeForest after he left the Hometown Pharmacy at 643 S. Main St.
At the news conference Thursday, police said two alert clerks, a 17-year-old and a 24-year-old woman, saw Taylor walk into the store at about 4 p.m., recognized him from the description of the suspect from previous robberies and immediately called police.
DeForest police said Taylor asked the pharmacist if a prescription was ready for another person. He left after the woman said no.
Police said Taylor was 20-30 feet from the store's entrance when he was captured without resistance, and officers found knives in his pockets. Taylor reportedly told police he planned to rob the pharmacy.
"According to his interview something just didn't seem right and he exited," Furseth said.
Police from multiple jurisdictions, including the FBI, are investigating the cases. Photo lineups were being used to link Taylor to certain cases, according to investigators.
"As these thefts and robberies continued we assembled multi-agency investigative team which facilitated the sharing of information and ultimately got us to where we are today," said Chris Colewith the FBI.
No charges have been filed yet because of the number of jurisdictions involved in the investigation. Police estimate more than $87,000 worth of prescriptions has been stolen since November.
Pharmacies in Madison, Beloit, Janesville, Waunakee, Whitewater and Delavan were robbed. Police said Taylor is also a suspect in a similar incident in Nebraska.