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Robbery suspect in custody

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By Nancy Parsons

GREAT FALLS – Charges are pending against a former Lancaster County woman in the armed robbery of the Great Falls Pharmacy last Thursday.

Great Falls Police Chief Steven Rice said he is waiting for former Lancaster County resident Kimberly Payne Arnold, 26, to be released from the Horry County Detention Center so he can transfer her to the Chester County jail on the Great Falls robbery charge.

Rice said two people were involved in the robbery and a third person is being investigated for possible involvement.

Witness statements and information from two people at the pharmacy led to the pending charges. Rice said the witnesses were very observant and with the help of the Lancaster Police Department investigations unit, police were able to collect enough information on the suspect to identify her and initiate a traffic stop.

A tip also led police to believe the trio were on their way to the beach so the Horry County Police Department was notified.

Rice said Arnold was stopped by the Horry County Police Department Friday evening and charged with possession of a controlled substance. During a search of the car, police found evidence from the armed robbery. Oxycodone tablets and a plastic gun were found inside the car.

Rice said one of the Great Falls Pharmacy clerks said the gun appeared fake to her.

Rice and Lt. Kenny Tolbert went to Horry County and interviewed Arnold. She provided a statement admitting to the crime.

As soon as Arnold is released from Horry County on the drug charges, she will be transferred to Great Falls and charged with armed robbery.

“I have information possibly leading to two more arrests,” Rice said.

According to police, two men and a woman entered the pharmacy about 2:20 p.m. July 30. A white woman and white man

used guns during the robbery.  A black man was with the two suspects and police are investigating his involvement.

The suspects demanded cash from the register and oxycodone tablets and fentanyl patches, Rice said.

The suspects were inside the store and waited until the last customer left before they committed the robbery, Rice said.

They were not wearing masks and did not try to cover their faces. They pointed guns at the pharmacist and two technicians, Rice said.

The pharmacy employees were made to put the narcotics and cash in bags. Rice said between $300  and $400 was taken.

The employees couldn’t  provide a description of the getaway car. The suspects gave orders for employees to stay inside the pharmacy and not to call police or they would come back and kill them. As soon as the robbers left, the staff locked the door and called police.

Lynn Rushing, one of the owners and the pharmacist on duty, said the robbery took place quickly.

“It was one of those couple of minute things,” Rushing said. “It went kinda wild.”

Rushing said at least 100 oxycodone tablets and an undetermined number of fentanyl patches were taken.

Rushing said the robbers came in the store and sat down. He said he was busy filling prescriptions and when the last customer left, the man and woman made their move.

“It was very upsetting,” Rushing said. “They cocked the guns. It was pretty tough on the staff. They got the guns pointed at them first.”