Suspect arrested in robbery of Church Hill's Food City pharmacy

Rain Smith • Aug 17, 2013 at 8:57 AM

Police say they have arrested a man who entered the Food City pharmacy in Church Hill on Thursday and demanded pills, handing over a note threatening “all pharmacy workers will die” if they didn't comply.

James William Arthur, 24, was arrested at approximately midnight at 772 Big Elm Road in Church Hill, the home of a relative. Church Hill Police Chief Mark Johnson says officers located a large quantity of pills stolen in the incident, along with the rubber gloves, camouflage hat and sunglasses he wore in an attempt to disguise himself.

A Chevrolet Malibu matching a description of the getaway vehicle was reportedly located at the home — as well as the note handed to pharmacy workers.

"More so than any case in recent memory, this case was solved quickly due to technology," said Chief Johnson in a press release, referring to the store video surveillance footage that was quickly disseminated to local media.

"Within two hours of the robbery, we began receiving information on the possible identity of the robber. One of the tips lead to the quick arrest of the suspect."

Arthur reportedly has a lengthy criminal record throughout Northeast Tennessee, along with an active violation of probation warrant out of Unicoi County. He is currently held in the Hawkins County jail pending an arraignment.

At approximately 3:30 Thursday afternoon Church Hill police responded to a report of an armed robbery at the pharmacy in Food City, located at the intersection of Silver Lake Road and Highway 11-W. Arthur allegedly handed a note to a pharmacist demanding a list of various narcotic drugs, along with a threat that “all pharmacy workers will die” if the drugs weren't handed over. Police say Arthur also verbally stated to one employee that he would shoot them all if he didn't get the narcotics in 20 seconds. No handgun was brandished, but one witness told police there was an object bulging from the waistband underneath the suspect's shirt. Police say no weapon was located when Arthur was arrested.

CHPD Det. Kevin Grigsby and CHPD Sgt. Chad Mosley, along with support from Hawkins County Sheriff's Office personnel, conducted the arrest of Arthur on Big Elm Road.

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