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Published: Friday, 4/15/2005

Chase ends with arrest of 3 in robbery of pharmacy

Three men were arrested yesterday after police said they robbed a West Toledo pharmacy of prescription medication and money before leading officers from three police agencies on a chase that ended in South Toledo.

John Banford, 61, of Garfield Heights, Ohio; Paul Baccus, 50, of Spencer Township, and Otis Johnson, 56, of 1352 West Woodruff Ave., were being held in the Lucas County jail on one count each of aggravated robbery.

A passer-by told a police crew that the Pharmacy Counter, 2655 West Central Ave., was being robbed about 10:10 a.m. Two robbers took money, OxyContin, and other drugs during the armed holdup, Detective Bob Schroeder said.

The officer told dispatch, drove a block to the business, and covered the side door and parking lot. The suspects ran out the front door to a waiting van, allegedly driven by Mr. Johnson, parked in a lot off Haughton Drive, investigators said.

The van fled with police in pursuit. Off-duty school resource Officer Johnny Taylor was driving by as the suspects fled out the front door. He saw them get into the van and followed it for a short time. He called police on his cell phone, but lost the vehicle, investigators said.

University of Toledo and Ottawa Hills police saw Mr. Baccus jump from the van and he was apprehended at Secor Road and Nebraska Avenue. He was found with some drugs, Detective Schroeder said.

The van continued with Toledo police spotting it and pursuing it to Holland-Sylvania Road and Cook Drive, where the other two suspects were taken into custody. The incident lasted at least 15 minutes, the detective said.

The suspects were identified by witnesses and taken to the detective bureau downtown for questioning before being booked into the jail. They are to be arraigned today in Toledo Municipal Court.

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