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Deputies search for CVS armed robber

Tips say man has been asking for rides near I-95, CR 210


ST JOHNS COUNTY, Fla. – Deputies are searching for a man they said robbed a CVS pharmacy Thursday morning on St. Johns Commons Road, off County Road 210 near Interstate 95, according to the St. Johns County Sheriff's Office.

Cmdr. Chuck Mulligan said the man walked into the store about 9 a.m., told the pharmacy techs that he had a weapon and gave them a note asking for pain killers, syrups, Xanax and Dilaudid. 

"I'm nice and won't hurt you," the note read. "Just hand it over and your car keys and no shots to you.

Sheriff's Office spokesman Kevin Kelshaw said the man told pharmacy staff he wanted liquid codeine and Xanax, so they put it in two bags for him. He can be seen casually walking out of the store with the drugs in hand.

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Deputies said that as the man left the store, he asked a woman for a ride. When she said no, he walked off, heading east toward Country Road 210 and I-95.

Dawn Ziglar and her daughter got to the store just as it reopened Thursday afternoon.

"It's very upsetting that it would happen close to -- I live four minutes from here. So yeah I'm surprised," Ziglar said. "I moved over to this area because we felt like it was a better area than where we used to live, so it's sad to hear, but I know it happens everywhere."

As deputies search for the man, Ziglar said she's just glad she and her daughter weren't inside the store when the man was.

The robber was described as a white man in his 20s, about 6 feet tall and weighing 160 pounds. He was last seen wearing tan pants, a dark colored shirt and a red hat. He was also wearing sunglasses and carrying two CVS shopping bags. 

Deputies have not identified the man and News4Jax crime and safety analyst Gil Smith said that investigators will rely on the surveillance video, the witnesses and perhaps fingerprints, if the man touched the counter or anything else in the store.

Deputies said they have gotten some leads about the man asking for rides in the area of I-95 and CR 210, but none that have led to the man's capture.

News4Jax crime and safety analyst Gil Smith said drivers should never stop for hitchhikers.

"These people did the right thing. He asked several people for a ride and all of them declined," Smith said. "He had just robbed a CVS. There's no telling what he would have done with them."

Smith said even if it's unclear if the person has a gun, drivers put themselves at risk by picking up strangers.

"We're looking at an armed robber, so you've got an armed robber inside your car, and you're giving him a ride," Smith said. "He could carjack you, take your car, shoot you, stab you. He could do anything. If he's willing to rob a store, he's going to hurt someone."

CVS has not returned requests for comment about the robbery.

Anyone with any information about the robber is asked to call 911 immediately. Deputies consider him to be armed and dangerous, and urge people not to approach him.