CLEARFIELD – A Curwensville man has pleaded guilty to trying to rob a local pharmacy through a drive-thru window.
David Peter Bracken Jr., 28, 608 Schofield St., Curwensville, an inmate of the jail, pleaded guilty to robbery and terroristic threats during plea and sentencing court in Clearfield County.
He was sentenced by Judge Paul E. Cherry to five to 10 years in state prison. In a second case, he pleaded guilty to possession of firearm prohibited, possession of a small amount of marijuana and possession of drug paraphernalia. For this he was sentenced to an additional two to four years in state prison.
The charges stem from an incident in Curwensville on Sept. 30 when Bracken allegedly drove up to the drive-thru window at the City Drug Store and demanded drugs.
Prior to sentencing, his attorney, Leanne Nedza stated that Bracken has a history of mental health issues and a drug problem. “He made a stupid decision,” she said, adding that he did not have a well thought out plan for the robbery. Bracken apologized to the victims.
According to the affidavit of probable cause, at 6:46 p.m. police received a report of the robbery. The first employee to see the man, Susan Lewis, told police a small motorcycle pulled up and the man on it was wearing a skeleton costume. She told the pharmacist, Donald Baun, she did not want to wait on him. The person was described as only five-foot three or five-foot four and weighing about 115 pounds.
When he saw the individual Baun said he thought it was a kid pulling a prank. The individual asked if it was too late to fill prescriptions and handed him a stack of blank papers. He then asked, “Do you know who I am?” Baun asked if he was trick-or-treating and wanted candy.
The suspect pulled out a gun and yelled “give me your Benzo’s and pain pills.” Baun alerted the other employees to call 9-1-1. Baun then walked to the rear of the pharmacy and through a door to alert another employee. He heard the suspect yell “Benzo’s” again and “you got 30 seconds or I’m coming in.” Instead the suspect drove off and Baun locked the pharmacy down.
Baun told police that at one point, his hand touched the gun and he thought it was plastic, but he was unsure if it was real or fake.
Lewis told police that if she had to guess who it was at the window, she would say it was Bracken who is the same size and used to shop at the pharmacy.
Other employees in the store gave similar reports of the incident.
Police were able to view the outside surveillance video from the pharmacy. It showed the motorcycle and rider who was wearing a hooded sweatshirt with a mask depicting a skeleton. The individual was obviously nervous and continuously checked his surroundings.
The video showed the suspect hand a stack of papers to the pharmacist. He then pulled a gun and put it up toward the window. He leaned into the window but ultimately fled the scene.
A neighbor, Harry Hall, also witnessed the attempted robbery and saw the man pull out a gun. As the suspect pulled away, Hall chased him in his car but the suspect jumped off the bike and took off running.
Bracken was interviewed that night and denied any involvement. He claimed he was robbed at gun point at the same time the pharmacy was robbed. During the interview, the officer saw what appeared to be black paint on Bracken’s hands. When asked why he had black on his hands, he said it was paint. He claimed he got the paint on his hands when the gun was put in his mouth. When he realized it was plastic, he grabbed it and attempted to get it away from his robber, he said.
Bracken’s girlfriend, Krista Wilson was also questioned by phone that night. She confirmed Bracken had a black hooded sweatshirt with a skeleton on it. She explained that it zips up the front and covers his entire face. She was with him when he bought it.
Bracken’s sister, Jennifer Bloom, gave police a written statement and a can of black spray paint. She said he discussed robbing the “unrobbable pharmacy.” He had told her about his plan and called her shortly after he was interviewed by police, admitting that he committed the robbery.
According to the affidavit in the firearm case, police were asked to assist a state parole agent with locating Bracken in October. When he was located in Curwensville, he attempted to flee out a first-floor window in the rear of the residence. But after seeing officers, he retreated back inside. Eventually he agreed to come out.
He was asked about a gun others said he had with him and he told police where it could be found in the residence. Bracken is prohibited from possessing a firearm due to a previous aggravated assault conviction.