Elk­ton phar­macy rob­bery sus­pects nabbed

Caught less than 15 mins later

Cecil Whig - - FRONT PAGE - By CARL HAMIL­TON

ca­hamil­ton@ce­cil­whig.com

— Two men who al­legedly teamed up to rob a phar­macy in Elk­ton on Wed­nes­day found them­selves in hand­cuffs less than 15 min­utes af­ter the holdup, po­lice re­ported.

In­ves­ti­ga­tors iden­ti­fied Brian J. Branch, 28, of Mid­dle­town, Del., as the gun­man in the rob­bery that oc­curred about 11:30 a.m. at

ELK­TON

the Wal­greens at 301 E. Pu­laski High­way, ac­cord­ing to Capt. Joseph Zurolo, an Elk­ton Po­lice De­part­ment spokesman.

De­tec­tives iden­ti­fied Michael A. Kol­mo­nen, 28, of Wilm­ing­ton, Del., as the get­away driver, he re­ported.

Zurolo noted that Delaware State Po­lice troop­ers cap­tured the flee­ing sus­pects shortly af­ter they had en­tered that state from Ce­cil County.

Their ar­rests came af­ter EPD de­tec­tives and of­fi­cers ra­dioed a be-on-the- look­out bul­letin, sup­ply­ing the re­ported de­scrip­tion of the gun­man to area law en­force­ment agen­cies, he said. EPD ra­dioed that in­for­ma­tion be­fore they had ar­rived at the Wal­greens, where they cor­doned off the busi­ness en­trance with yel­low crime-scene tape and in­ter­viewed the vic­tims, Zurolo added.

“The sus­pects were caught al­most im­me­di­ately,” Zurolo com­mented.

He de­ferred to DSP

of­fi­cials for in­for­ma­tion re­gard­ing how and where Branch and Kol­mo­nen were cap­tured, ex­plain­ing that they are han­dling that part of the case. DSP could not be reached for com­ment.

At some point, ac­cord­ing to Zurolo, the sus­pects will be ex­tra­dited back to Ce­cil County to face charges re­lat­ing to the Wal­greens armed rob­bery, which oc­curred when the sus­pect, now iden­ti­fied as Branch, bran­dished a hand­gun and de­manded money from a clerk.

“He reached over the counter and grabbed the money and then fled on foot,” Zurolo said, adding that he was last seen run­ning north on nearby White­hall Road.

Shortly af­ter the armed rob­bery, a hunt by a spe­cially-trained scent dog and his han­dler led in­ves­ti­ga­tors to con­clude that the gun­man had met a wait­ing get­away driver and sped away, ac­cord­ing to Zurolo.

“Our K-9 was track­ing and it (the scent) stopped cold at Coach­man Drive, so we be­lieved there was a get­away driver in­volved,” Zurolo said, re­fer­ring to a neigh­bor­hood road that is close to the Wal­greens.

EPD de­tec­tives ra­dioed a be-on-the-look­out bul­letin to area po­lice agen­cies, in­clud­ing DSP, and de­scribed the gun­man as a white man about 5-feet, 4-inches tall, weigh­ing 145 pounds, and wear­ing a gray hooded sweat­shirt, jeans and a ski mask, Zurolo re­ported.

DSP in­ves­ti­ga­tors had han­dled sim­i­lar armed rob­beries that oc­curred re­cently just over the Ce­cil County line in their ju­ris­dic­tion, he noted.

They cap­tured Branch and Kol­mo­nen in New Cas­tle County, Del., within min­utes af­ter the holdup, ac­cord­ing to Zurolo.

This marks the third armed rob­bery in Ce­cil County since Sun­day, when a gun­man with a ban­dana par­tially cov­er­ing his face robbed the Stop-N-Go store in the unit block of East Ce­cil Av­enue in North East at about 8:20 p.m., po­lice said. Bran­dish­ing the hand­gun, the sus­pect de­manded cash and cig­a­rettes, and fled on foot af­ter the clerk com­plied, po­lice added.

Some 52 hours later, a sus­pect wear­ing a black “cos­tume beard” walked into the Wawa in the 1600 block of Elk­ton Road (Route 279) about 12:45 a.m. Tues­day, dis­played a hand­gun and de­manded money and cig­a­rettes, po­lice re­ported.

That sus­pect also fled on foot af­ter the em­ployee com­plied, ac­cord­ing to po­lice.

As of late Tues­day, in­ves­ti­ga­tors hadn’t de­ter­mined if those two armed rob­beries are re­lated. Store sur­veil­lance cam­eras video­taped both of them, po­lice re­ported.

In­for­ma­tion re­gard­ing a con­nec­tion, if any, of the Wal­greens armed rob­bery to the other two holdups was un­avail­able Thursday night.

CE­CIL WHIG PHOTO BY CARL HAMIL­TON

Elk­ton Po­lice De­part­ment de­tec­tives and of­fi­cers work be­hind crime scene tape in front of the Wal­greens in Elk­ton, where a gun­man re­port­edly robbed the store in broad day­light Wed­nes­day.

CE­CIL WHIG PHOTO BY CARL HAMIL­TON

An Elk­ton Po­lice De­part­ment of­fi­cers stands be­hind crime scene tape in front of the Wal­greens, mo­ments af­ter a gun­man re­port­edly robbed the store.

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