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Pair jailed in Hempfield drugstore robbery

| Friday, Dec. 13, 2013, 12:01 a.m.
Edward Swidowski of Greensburg has been charged with the robbery of the CVS pharmacy on Donohoe Road in Hempfield on Dec. 10, 2013.
Christopher Jaffre is accused of robbery in a holdup on Dec. 10, 2013, at CVS pharmacy on Donohoe Road in Hempfield.

Two men who allegedly made off with cash and more than $15,000 worth of prescription pills in the armed robbery of a Hempfield pharmacy were arrested on Thursday.

Police said Edward Joseph Swidowski, 30, of Greensburg and Christopher Allen Jaffre, 34, of Hempfield concocted the “perfect plan” to rob a CVS Pharmacy on Donohoe Road on Tuesday evening.

According to an affidavit of probable cause, the pair were wearing ski masks and latex gloves when they entered the pharmacy armed with a gun.

Two female employees told state police the “taller suspect” pointed the gun at them and said “he didn't want to shoot them and to just give him the money,” Trooper John Zalich wrote in the affidavit.

The “shorter suspect” demanded Oxycontin, a pain reliever, from the male pharmacist.

“There was more movement behind the pharmacy, and the shorter suspect also obtained (bottles) of Xanax and then went back to the safe and grabbed other various narcotics,” Zalich wrote.

According to criminal complaints, Jaffre is 6 feet, 3 inches tall, and Swidowski is 5 feet, 8 inches tall.

Jaffre encountered a customer in the store and ordered him at gunpoint to lie down, police said. The pair fled after getting $400 in cash and $15,801 worth of prescription pills that they later split, police said.

Investigators got a break in the case early on Thursday when a confidential informant tipped them off about Swidowski's alleged involvement.

Police located him in a parked car in Fort Allen, where they found several prescription pill bottles similar to those stolen from CVS, according to the affidavit. A 30-year-old woman in the car was carrying 26 Xanax pills, police said. She has not been charged.

Swidowski admitted to the robbery and implicated Jaffre, according to the affidavit.

Both men are being held in the Westmoreland County Prison on charges of robbery, theft and receiving stolen property. Jaffre's bail is $100,000, and Swidowski's is $75,000.

Preliminary hearings before District Judge James Falcon are scheduled for Tuesday. Neither man had an attorney listed in online court records.

Renatta Signorini is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at rsignorini@tribweb.com.

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