Connecticut Post (Sunday)

N.Y. man charged with stealing narcotics from Monroe Rite Aid

- By Daniel Tepfer

BRIDGEPORT — The last of three New York men, who police said stole thousands of narcotics from a Monroe pharmacy last July, was brought back to Connecticu­t for prosecutio­n on Thursday.

Baheem Cooke, 22, of Brooklyn, N.Y., was brought back to the state Thursday morning and arraigned on multiple counts of conspiracy to commit second-degree robbery and being an accessory to second-degree robbery.

Police said Cooke and three others stole more than 5,000 doses of Oxycontin and other powerful narcotics, valued at $133,000, from the Rite Aid pharmacy on Monroe Turnpike on July 13.

Two other men, Jason Wade, 21, and Ishmael Henry, 25, of Brooklyn, were arrested earlier and are awaiting trial.

A fourth suspect has not been captured.

During Cooke’s arraignmen­t hearing Thursday afternoon Deputy Assistant State’s Attorney Stephen Lojo urged Superior Court Judge Elizabeth Reid to set a high bond for the defendant.

Lojo pointed out that Cooke has a serious prior record in New York and is wanted for a felony in Florida.

Cooke’s lawyer, Assistant Public Defender Dennis Salzbrunn, urged the judge for leniency.

Judge Reid ordered Cooke held in lieu of $150,000 bond and continued the case to March 21.

According to police, on July 13, Monroe police officers were dispatched to the Rite Aid for a robbery.

Police said four men drove up to the store in a rental car and left the car idling in a handicap parking space as they entered the store carrying shopping bags.

The men pushed aside store employees as they headed directly to the pharmacy section in the back of the store, police said.

Police said the men forced open the pharmacy door and ordered the employees to open the safe. When one of the employees balked at doing so, police said one of the robbers warned her there was no need for anyone to get hurt.

Police said the employee opened the safe and the robbers began filling the shopping bag with the narcotics.

After emptying the safe the men fled back to their waiting car and drove off.

Police said the getaway car was later found abandoned in Brooklyn, N.Y.

They said Cooke was arrested after he was identified through surveillan­ce video from a gas station where the men stopped and through DNA evidence found in the car.

 ?? Monroe Police Department/Contribute­d photo ?? Monroe Police Department
Monroe Police Department/Contribute­d photo Monroe Police Department

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