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Florida robbery suspects leave trail of empty pill bottles

CVS employees were bound with zip ties, deputies say

David Dobbins and Cristopher Rachell
David Dobbins and Cristopher Rachell (Pasco County Sheriff's Office)

PASCO COUNTY, Fla. – A trail of pill bottles stolen from a Florida drug store led detectives to a home where they found two men matching descriptions of the robbers seen on surveillance video, sheriff's officials said.

The men and another accomplice robbed a CVS in Clearwater about 5 a.m. on New Year's Day, waving guns at employees and binding several of them with zip ties, according to the Pinellas County Sheriff's Office.

The trio made off with more than 10,000 pills containing the opioids hydrocodone and oxycodone, the Tampa Bay Times reported. The drugs had a street value of about $320,000.

But they left behind some obvious clues. First, the surveillance video captured the men and a white Chrysler 200 fleeing the scene. And apparently the men emptied pills from bottles, which they tossed out the window as they drove home, the newspaper reported.

Detectives followed the trail of pill bottles to a home where they found two of the men, sheriff's officials said.

Investigators said the three men had planned the robbery, even staking the location out the day before, the Times reported. Detectives saw one of the men casing the store in the surveillance video they reviewed, officials said.

The two men — Christopher Rachell Jr., 19, and David Dobbins, 19 — were arrested Jan. 1. They also matched the descriptions of the robbers seen inside the store, detectives said.

As they investigated, they found more evidence. On Dobbins' cellphone, they saw video of the men in the same room as a bed piled with pills and clear plastic bags, the Times reported. There were also videos showing them handling a white garbage bag, which is the same type as seen in the surveillance video.

The videos also helped investigators identify Roy Lampkin, 18, as an accomplice, showing him handling the white bag. Detectives also found his fingerprints on evidence at the scene.

Lampkin isn't listed on the warrant as a suspected robber, the Times reported. But it says he was seen on video entering the CVS at 3:52 a.m. on Jan. 1 and asking the pharmacist a question. Authorities arrested him Feb. 5 and charged him with drug trafficking.

All three men remain in jail, and their court records don't list lawyers who could speak for them.

Rachell and Dobbins are each charged with two counts of trafficking in illegal drugs, three counts of false imprisonment and one count of armed robbery. Dobbins is held in lieu of $280,000 bond. Rachell is also charged with oxycodone possession and is held in lieu of $282,000 bond.

Lampkin is charged with two drug trafficking charges and remains in jail in a $1 million bond.