ON THE TRAIL
Walgreens, where a command post was set up, was closed for an hour or so as investigators questioned employees; a store representative said they couldn’t comment on the holdup.
Forensic specialists were collecting physical evidence from the store in an effort to identify the robber.
Just before 3:30 p.m., a scanner report said a police dog was on the trail, moving west behind Burger King and Dunkin’ Donuts, then progressing south toward Haley Drive. Already, authorities were searching the wooded area bounded by Haley, Cogan Avenue, Cornelia Street, Broad Street and Leonard Avenue.
Also targeted was the area behind Texas Roadhouse.
Early on, a patrol car was sent to the area near Plattsburgh State Field House on Rugar Street.
U.S. Customs and Border Protection Border Patrol had a helicopter searching from the air and was also providing a canine unit. At least two choppers were circling the area, just as they did Monday, July 2, when a heavyset black man robbed NBT Bank one mile west on Route 3 in the Town of Plattsburgh of an undisclosed amount of money.
Police say that suspect is Oneil O. Stephenson, also known as Philippe Francois of Brooklyn, who has ties to the North Country.
The suspect in Thursday’s crime had a very exact plan in mind before entering the drug store.
“He wanted specific drugs,” Racicot said.
“That makes people very desperate. You see these trends across the nation. Robbing a pharmacy, robbing people when they come out of the pharmacy for prescriptions. It’s a very serious thing. What even makes it more dangerous is the fact that these people are very, very desperate,” Racicot said.
“He should not be encountered by the public.”
Loghan Delisle, who was working the drive-thru window at Burger King at the time of the robbery, saw police cars pull in to the parking lot at Walgreens 15 minutes after the 2:30 crime.