BELLEFONTE – Brett Middleton of Clearfield was recently sentenced before the Honorable Pamela Ruest to eight to 16 years in state prison and to pay more than $16,000 in restitution for robbing a local pharmacy.
Middleton was sentenced on charges of possession with intent to deliver, a felony; three counts of robbery, all felonies of the first degree; and firearms not to be carried without a license, a felony of the third degree.
On Nov. 16, 2011, Middleton and an associate, Shawn Demko, entered Grattan’s Pharmacy in Philipsburg; the pair was masked and armed with pistols. Middleton and Demko “rounded up” all of the employees and forced them to the ground, threatening their lives, according to Centre County District Attorney Stacy Parks Miller.
They demanded that the pharmacist open the safe and fill bags with more than $16,000 worth of narcotics, including Adderall, Amphetamine salts, Hydromorphine, Oxycodone, Oxycontin and others. They also stole a pistol during the crime as a getaway driver waited outside, she said.
A search warrant, Parks Miller said, allowed the Pennsylvania State Police at Philipsburg to search Demko’s truck and residence, where they located remnants of the drugs and the guns used during the robbery. Later, while attempting to serve an arrest warrant on Demko, she said a standoff ensued with authorities.
Then, she said Demko barricaded himself inside his residence and refused to surrender. After several demands to come out of the residence, she said police heard a gunshot and discovered that Demko had taken his own life. She added that cellular phone records and text messages indicated that Middleton was Demko’s partner in the robbery.
“The potential for loss of innocent life during this heist was colossal,” said Parks Miller. “The payoff for this crime was hardly worth it, and in the end, we are pleased with the sentence for such a serious crime.”