CLEARFIELD – A Curwensville man accused of trying to rob a local pharmacy waived his right to a preliminary hearing during Centralized Court on Wednesday at the Clearfield County Jail.
David Peter Bracken Jr., 28, of Curwensville has been charged with robbery; terroristic threats; possession of instruments of crime; simple assault; disorderly conduct; and criminal attempt/theft by unlawful taking. He’s currently incarcerated at the CCJ in lieu of $50,000 bail.
The charges against Bracken stem from a reported robbery incident that occurred at City Drug in Curwensville Borough. Bracken allegedly tried to commit the robbery at approximately 6:46 p.m. Sept. 30, 2013, according to the affidavit of probable cause.
Upon investigation state police learned a masked motorcyclist arrived at the pharmacy’s drive-up window. The suspect was approximately 5 feet, 3 inches to 5 feet, 4 inches tall and 110 – 120 pounds. At first, the pharmacist told state police he believed it was “a young kid pulling a prank.”
The suspect asked if it was too late to fill prescriptions. At that point, the pharmacist asked the suspect if he was trick-or-treating early and wanting candy. When the suspect’s motorcycle shut off, the pharmacist assisted him in getting it started again. Then, the suspect allegedly pulled out a gun, yelling, “Give me your Benzos and pain pills.”
The pharmacist walked around the corner and advised two employees to get out and to call 9-1-1. He proceeded to the rear of City Drug to alert another employee. During this time, the suspect allegedly continued to yell “Benzos” and “you got 30 seconds or I’m coming in.” When the suspect drove off, the pharmacist said he locked down City Drug.
The pharmacist noted to state police that at one point, he touched the suspect’s gun. He thought it might have been plastic; however, he wasn’t certain if it was real or fake.
State police interviewed an employee who was near the drive-up window when the suspect arrived at the pharmacy. She said the suspect was riding a small motorcycle and wearing a skeleton Halloween costume. She advised the pharmacist that she didn’t want to wait on the male.
The employee said she heard a commotion at the window between the pharmacist and the suspect. She said she and another employee were locked in the office at the rear of the pharmacy and didn’t come out until the yelling was over. The employee told state police “if she had a guess,” the suspect was likely Bracken.
State police interviewed a second City Drug employee who offered a similar account of the incident. A third employee told state police that she observed the suspect who allegedly pointed the gun at her and ordered her to “get over here.” She ran to the bathroom and locked herself inside, as the gun appeared to be real from her perspective.
While at the scene, state police viewed video surveillance, which showed the suspect pulling up to the pharmacy on a small blue and white motorcycle. The suspect was wearing a hooded sweatshirt and mask with a depiction of a skeleton on the front.
Surveillance also showed the suspect pulling out a gun and pointing it toward the pharmacy’s drive-up window. The suspect was then observed leaning in and later fleeing the scene on the motorcycle.
State police also interviewed a witness who observed the suspect, as he allegedly pulled out the gun at City Drug. When the suspect fled the scene, the witness attempted to chase him down in his car to the bridge in the area of Anderson Creek near Meadow and Walnut streets. The suspect, the witness said, jumped off the motorcycle and fled on foot.
On the night in question, state police also interviewed Bracken, who denied any involvement with a reported robbery at City Drug. Bracken then claimed that he was robbed at gun point around the same time as the robbery incident at the pharmacy.
State police observed black plant on Bracken’s hands during the interview. When asked, he explained it was paint from him trying to grab the gun and get away after he realized the gun was plastic. In the affidavit, state police noted the City Drug suspect handed the pharmacist papers containing and smelling of fresh black spray paint.
Upon investigation state police were advised Bracken owned a black hooded sweatshirt with a skeleton on it. It also covered his entire face, and Bracken had purchased it about two weeks prior to the robbery incident.
State police were also advised that Bracken had allegedly talked about robbing the “unrobbable pharmacy.” While discussing his plans, Bracken allegedly put on the skeleton sweatshirt and asked if his eye color was identifiable.
Bracken also allegedly commented that he planned to present “fake scripts,” pull out a gun and ask for “Benzos” and pain meds. In discussions with this witness afterward, Bracken allegedly admitted to committing the robbery at City Drug.
During the investigation, state police were presented with a can of spray paint and a marker. Bracken allegedly used both to color the toy gun before the robbery incident. State police also recovered Bracken’s sweatshirt and latex gloves, which were sent to the Erie Regional Crime Lab.
State police received a letter from Bracken, who wanted to talk with the investigating trooper. On Jan. 22, state police arrived at the CCJ and Bracken asked why he hadn’t been charged with the robbery at City Drug. State police explained the Erie Crime Lab hadn’t yet returned reports on evidence.
Bracken advised state police he was aware of interviews that had been conducted with a particular witness. He asked why it wasn’t enough to charge him with the robbery. State police again explained the crime lab hadn’t returned reports on the evidence and asked Bracken if he’d provide a written statement regarding his involvement in the robbery.
In a written statement, Bracken admitted to trying to rob City Drug. Further, he admitted to using his son’s dirt bike to drive up to the pharmacy window where he demanded pain meds.
Bracken also admitted to spray painting a plastic gun, which he threw into the river while fleeing the scene. After being chased by a witness, Bracken said he took off his sweatshirt and gloves and left them in the woods.
On March 26, state police took possession of a plastic pistol that had been located in melting snow along the road. State police found it was also located in the area that Bracken had fled to after allegedly trying to commit the robbery.