Police meet armed robbery suspect at his home after narcotics theft

By: Andy Kozlowski | Madison - Park News | Published September 17, 2021

 Patrick D. Johnson

Patrick D. Johnson

Advertisement

HAZEL PARK — Some quick thinking on the part of Hazel Park detectives helped deduce the identity of a man they believe robbed a pharmacy at gunpoint, stealing cash and highly addictive prescription painkillers.

The suspect is Patrick D. Johnson, 33, of Hazel Park. The incident reportedly occurred at 8 p.m. Sept. 2, at the Walgreens Pharmacy located at 1843 E. Eight Mile Road in Hazel Park.

Surveillance footage led police to the suspect shortly thereafter — he was still dressed in the same hoodie he had been allegedly wearing at the time of the incident. During the incident, he was also wearing a mask.

Upon entering the store, he reportedly claimed he was picking up a prescription for somebody, but the pharmacist told him there was nobody by that name on file. That’s when he allegedly pulled a black handgun and jumped the counter, demanding money and Percocet, a highly addictive drug containing the narcotic oxycodone. He reportedly stole eight bottles of the pills, and took around $1,600 from a safe, as well.

Upon arrival at the crime scene, investigators found a handgun magazine loaded with 9mm bullets that the suspect apparently dropped behind the pharmacy counter. The suspect was considered armed and dangerous, but police quickly determined the man’s identity, since an officer realized he had already encountered him earlier that day, when someone had reportedly witnessed Johnson driving recklessly on an all-terrain vehicle with a child onboard.

The officer had his home address from that incident, and waited for him there until he returned in his vehicle a short time after the armed robbery. Police arrested him and recovered the stolen pills, cash, and the handgun used.

During a subsequent interview, he allegedly confessed to police.

He was arraigned via video in Hazel Park 43rd District Court on Sept. 4, charged with armed robbery and two counts of felony firearm offenses, as well as possession of a firearm by a felon.

According to online records available through the Michigan Department of Corrections, he has prior convictions for felony firearm charges and carjacking in Wayne County Circuit Court. He served 11 years in prison on the carjacking charge, from the fall of 2007 through the summer of 2019.

The suspect’s defense attorney, Delphia Burton, was contacted but declined to comment on the case, which is ongoing. If convicted, armed robbery is punishable by up to life in prison.

Hazel Park Police Chief Brian Buchholz said that the suspect claimed he was addicted.

“I am not sure that his addiction is to blame for his decision to rob people at gunpoint,” Buchholz said in an email. “He has committed violent felonies before that have landed him in prison for a long period of time. Drug abuse can definitely lead some people to a life of crime — poor decisions that they maybe would not have made otherwise.”

The chief praised the work of the officers involved.

“Everyone involved did a great job working together,” Buchholz said. “From dispatch, to patrol, to the detective in charge — they all did an excellent job. Things happen quickly and evolve rapidly under tense circumstances. I am thankful the officers were able to arrest the suspect without being injured. If circumstances varied a little bit, you never know what the outcome could have been. I am super thankful that everyone is OK physically. I pray that the employees at Walgreens do not suffer long-lasting effects from the trauma they endured. Physically, I know they were not harmed. I know some assistance is being given to them, which is very important.”

Advertisement