Drug robbery suspect leads police on high-speed chase
By Rossilynne Skena Culgan
Published: Wednesday, April 17, 2013, 12:01 a.m.
State police on Monday night tracked down a South Huntingdon man who is accused of leading police on a high-speed chase for several miles after robbing a pharmacy in East Huntingdon.
Zachary Allan Clausner, 32, walked into the Rite Aid Pharmacy in Country Side Plaza about 7:45 p.m. and slid a note to the pharmacist, police state in an affidavit of probable cause.
The note, written in all-capitals on a light-blue sheet of paper, stated, “I have a gun...Stay calm. Don't make me hurt you,” according to police. The note demanded oxycodone, according to the affidavit.
He did not show a weapon, state Trooper Steve Limani said.
The pharmacist handed over several bottles of oxycodone valued at about $500, police said.
Clausner then took off in his Audi A6 and headed toward his home, police said.
Scottdale and Mt. Pleasant police officers tried to pull over Clausner's vehicle along Route 31. Clausner initially pulled over, then sped away when officers were about to get out of their police car, police said.
After that, Clausner led state police and the two local departments on a chase through East Huntingdon and South Huntingdon townships before he ran away, abandoning his car near his home, court records state.
Clausner surrendered to state police at his home and turned over the pills.
“(We are) absolutely fed up with people trying to go into our pharmacies and steal oxycodone,” Limani said.
Clausner admitted to swallowing about 15 or 20 pills and was taken to Excela Westmoreland Hospital in Greensburg to be checked by a physician, police said.
Police said Clausner was cooperative and admitted to robbing the pharmacy.
“The defendant also stated that he had robbed the same Rite Aid two other times in the past. The defendant also advised that he had robbed the Rite Aid in (Hempfield) ... twice prior ... and the new Walgreens (in Hempfield) twice,” the affidavit states.
“It was very important that we were able to find the person committing these robberies,” Limani said.
Charges have not been filed in the additional robberies, court records show.
In Monday night's incident, Clausner faces charges that include robbery, theft, terroristic threats, fleeing or attempting to elude police and recklessly endangering another person. He is in Westmoreland County jail on $100,000 bond.
Court records do not list an attorney for Clausner.
A preliminary hearing is scheduled for April 24 before Scottdale District Judge Charles D. Moore.
Rossilynne Skena is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at 724-836-6646 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
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