By Teri Cayton
The Parsons Advocate
According to a press release issued by Parsons Police Chief Jonathan E. Jones, on July 16 at about 4:30 p.m., a man allegedly entered the Rite-Aid in Parsons and y robbed the pharmacy of 300 generic Percocet pills. The robber entered the pharmacy area and held a gun in the back of the pharmacist while demanding the drugs. The pharmacist was not harmed and the robber ran out of the store after allegedly snatching three bottles of the pills from the pharmacy. An employee, who realized that the pharmacist was being held up, notified another employee who then called 911 and summoned police.
Parsons Police Chief J. Jones, Tucker County Sheriff Brian B. Wilfong, Chief Deputy E. Surguy and Deputy C. Teter responded to the scene along with West Virginia State Police Sgt. K. Keplinger, Cpl. D. Burge. Cpl. M.S. Wetzel and US Forest Service Special Agent G. Smithson and began scouring the area for the robber. During the search, several persons were briefly interviewed and it was discovered that the man who allegedly robbed the pharmacy was 28 year old Parsons resident, John Joseph Morton, Jr.
Fingerprints were lifted from the scene and photographs were taken and the search area was broadened to areas outside the city as officers continued to try and locate Morton. While checking on a report of a suspicious male near the area, Morton was discovered walking along Poplar Street in front of Performance Auto Body at about 9 p.m. He was immediately taken into custody. According to the police report, two bottles of the stolen drugs were discovered in Morton’s pockets and the third empty bottle was later discovered nearby.
Police said, Morton led them to a location where he had hidden the gun he had used and the clothing he had been wearing during the alleged robbery. Afterward, he was taken to the Parsons Police Department where, after being informed of his Miranda Rights, he gave a statement and admitted to the robbery. He was then transported to the Tygart Valley Regional Jail to await arraignment.
The City of Parsons and the Parsons Police Department said the Tucker County Sheriff’s Office, the West Virginia State Police and the United States Forest Service provided tremendous efforts and tireless assistance of their officers in the investigation and search for Morton, without the help of all agencies, it would not have been possible to locate and arrest Morton and bring the matter to a quick and successful end.
Parsons Mayor, Dorothy Judy stated, “All police agencies did an awesome job of working together to apprehend this criminal in just under five hours.” Chief Jones said, “I was pleased how well everyone worked together to resolve this matter in short order.”
Morton was arraigned on July 17 by Tucker County Magistrate Carol Irons and his bond was set at $250,000 cash. He is charged with Armed Robbery and is currently being held in the Tygart Valley Regional Jail.
By Teri Cayton