According to the Police Report filed by Sgt. Paul Ouellette of the Sackville RCMP, a man entered Jean Coutu pharmacy on Main Street in Sackville, on March 14 shortly after 2:00 pm, claiming to be armed with a syringe infected with HIV. Employees described him as tall, wearing sunglasses and a hoodie. He demanded narcotics from the two female pharmacists on duty. The pharmacists refused and called the store manager, Aaron Lloyd, who chased them out of the store and down the street.
James Steeves and Cheryl Sears were the two Jean Coutu employees on duty at the time of the attempted robbery. “The pharmacy girls had the worst of it,” said Sears. “I just took care of the cleanup, fixing the door they broke on the way out. But when they called Aaron up, that’s when shit hit the fan and people started running. It’s a small town; the robber didn’t realize that people don’t always back down.”
“The girls called me up and said there was a young man who wanted some drugs,” said Steeves. “I never actually saw the syringe,” claimed Steeves, “so I wouldn’t let him have them. We were far enough away from him that we could keep surveillance on him.”
They called the police immediately, and all nearby officers responded, establishing a perimeter to prevent anyone from leaving the area. The robber discarded his toque and other clothing and attempted to get away, but was held up by the officers. The RCMP’s Police Dog Service tracked the man from his discarded clothes to the perimeter and arrested him. Three other men were arrested a short time later after being spotted by a Sackville resident who saw them entering a vehicle.
“We had tremendous support from the public on this case,” said Sergeant Jamie Graves.
It was later discovered that one of the men had been in the store at the time of the robbery on lookout. All four men appeared in Moncton Provincial Court the next day to face charges related to the robbery, and have since had a bail hearing last Monday. They are all currently in custody.
The four men arrested ranged in age from twenty-three to fifty-seven years old and were identified as Clinton Blecher, Jaime Culleton, Faren Reeves, and Blaine Bell. All were from outside New Brunswick—three from Prince Edward Island, one from British Columbia. The men have past criminal records.