Saturday, January 28, 2023

West found guilty for robbing a local pharmacy

by DERRICK PERKINS For the Hungry Horse News
| January 18, 2023 12:35 PM

A jury found a man arrested for holding up a Columbia Falls pharmacy for prescription drugs last year guilty of multiple felony charges in Flathead County District Court on Dec. 21.

It took a little under two hours for the jury to return with guilty verdicts for Grant Alan West, 38, of Columbia Falls for robbery, aggravated kidnapping and criminal possession of dangerous drugs. They also found that West used a weapon during the April 13 holdup.

Judge Robert Allison set sentencing for Feb. 16.

West fell under suspicion after Columbia Falls Police officers responded to a report of a pharmacy robbery on Ninth Street West about 7:04 p.m., April 13, according to court documents. Store employees told investigators they were closing up for the evening when a man walked in with a tote bag and gun before demanding Percocet, a prescription drug that contains oxycodone, an opioid. The man shepherded the employees into a bathroom and closed the door, court documents said. After a few minutes, the employees asked if they could exit. Getting no response, they left the bathroom to find the man gone.

A 100-count bottle of Percocet was taken in the robbery, court documents said. One of the employees identified West as the suspect, telling investigators he was a one-time customer, according to court documents. They also provided authorities with a description of the suspect, his weapon, vehicle and the tote bag.

Investigators tracked West down to a home on Braig Road in Columbia Falls and noted that he “matched the description of the suspect,” court documents said. A vehicle, tote bag and firearm found during the investigation also lined up with the pharmacy worker’s description and authorities found several oxycodone- acetaminophen pills on West’s body, according to court documents.

Robbery is punishable by between two and 40 years in Montana State Prison. With the weapons enhancement, between two and 10 years can get tacked onto the sentence. Aggravated kidnapping carries a maximum penalty of between two and 10 years in prison if the victims are released in a safe place without injury. Both come with a maximum fine of $50,000.

Criminal possession of dangerous drugs comes with a maximum five years behind bars and a $5,000 fine.

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