Pharmacy robbery suspect leads Horry Co. police on chase - WMBFNews.com, Myrtle Beach/Florence SC, Weather

Armed robbery suspect leads police on chase

Surveillance photos shown on WMBF News's sister station, Live 5 News in Charleston, led to the identification of the suspect. Surveillance photos shown on WMBF News's sister station, Live 5 News in Charleston, led to the identification of the suspect.
Taylor Watkins (Source: J. Reuben Long Detention Center) Taylor Watkins (Source: J. Reuben Long Detention Center)

NORTH MYRTLE BEACH, SC (WMBF) - Investigators have identified the man suspected of robbing three pharmacies in Summerville, and say he has already been arrested near Myrtle Beach for attempting to rob a donut shop and fleeing from police.

Summerville Police Department Captain Jon Rogers said 24-year-old Taylor M. Watkins was arrested in the Myrtle Beach area on Monday.

Rogers said the pictures aired on the news were instrumental in identifying Watkins, who now has pending charges in the Myrtle Beach area in addition to the three counts of armed robbery and possession of a firearm during a violent crime he faces in Summerville.

Watkins will be taken to Summerville for warrant service at an unknown time, Rogers added.

The first robbery happened at the Rite Aid on 602 Bacons Bridge Rd. on the night of March 23 when the suspect approached the clerk, showed a handgun and demanded all of the store's oxycodone and adderall.

As the clerk and pharmacist placed the medicine into the bag, the suspect said, "All of it."

The suspect then grabbed the bag, zipped it up and said, "You couldn't make it easy."

On the afternoon of Nov. 4, store employees at the CVS pharmacy on 301 North Main St. said they saw the suspect walking around the store for 30 minutes before approaching the counter.

When a clerk asked the suspect if he needed help, the suspect told two of the clerks to give him all of the oxycontin and oxycodone and to "make it quick."

The suspect then pulled out a gun from his hoodie and said, "Make it fast and make it now."

Police say the suspect handed the victims a blue bag to put the drugs in. The suspect then left the business with the drugs.

That same night, officers responded to the Walgreen's on North Main Street for a report of an armed robbery. The clerk told police that he first saw the suspect sitting in the waiting area.

When the clerk asked the suspect if he was waiting for a prescription, the suspect said, "No, I'm waiting on a phone call."

The suspect then waited for customers to leave the counter, then demanded methadone, adderall and oxycodone.

Police the suspect gave the victim a bag, took out a handgun and said,"You have two minutes to give the stuff."

The victim said the handgun was black and appeared to be a 9mm. The suspect then took the bag and filled with drugs and took off on foot.

According to the arrest report from North Myrtle Beach, Watkins entered the Krispy Kreme on the 1300 block of South Highway 17 Monday night and pulled what appeared to be a handgun from his waist band, asking the clerk for the money in the register.

The clerk didn't act immediately thinking the gun was fake, and that's when Watkins yelled, "Do you want to plat this game, it's not your money."

After a short exchange with the clerk, the report says Watkins ran out the door laughing. Police arrived shortly after and issued a "be on the lookout" for his car, a green sedan with oval tail lights which was seen driving north on Highway 17.

Public safety officers pursued him, and Horry County Police officers joined in the chase as Watkins made his way north on Highway 9 near Pine Needle Road were they deployed the stop sticks.

With two flat tires, officers were able to take Watkins into custody, at which time he told police he had taken several methadone tablets. EMS then arrived to transport Watkins to the hospital.

In his car, police found a gun and several bottles of medication., as well as a broken syringe, and iPhone, a laptop, a smoking pipe, incense, cigarettes and a steak knife.

Booking records for J. Reuben Long Detention Center show Watkins was booked into the facility around 4 a.m. Tuesday and charged with armed robbery, failure to stop for blue lights, possession of a weapon during a violent crime and possession of narcotics.

His bond was set at $43,000. It's unknown when he may be sent back to the Charleston area to face charges for the three pharmacies he's suspected of robbing.

Copyright 2012 WCSC and WMBF News. All rights reserved.

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