Reno man, 48, arrested in recent North Tahoe pharmacy robberies
A Reno man was arrested Tuesday afternoon after he allegedly robbed the same Kings Beach Rite Aid pharmacy that had been hit twice before in recent months.
Placer County Sheriff’s Office officials believe Peter Joseph Terry, 48, of Reno is also responsible for a slew of recent regional pharmacy robberies, from Reno to Incline Village to Kings Beach to Colfax, said Sgt. Dave Hunt.
Tuesday’s robbery occurred around 12:24 p.m. inside the Kings Beach pharmacy at 8245 North Lake Blvd., when the suspect — later identified as Terry — managed to steal prescription drugs, including methadone and Norco painkillers, and flee the pharmacy, Hunt said.
Though investigators believe Terry was unarmed during the robbery, witnesses report he did feign having a gun, Hunt said.
“The victim said (Terry) revealed what appeared to be the butt of a gun, demanding the drugs,” Hunt said. “The victim thought it was a real gun.”
After the robbery, Terry was observed by PCSO Det. John Lasagna entering a maroon Ford Fusion, which law enforcement believed was linked to prior robberies.
Lasagna, believing the Fusion to be the car linked with the prior robberies, began following the vehicle, first at a distance, Hunt said.
As the car began to move more erratically, making sudden turns through Kings Beach’s residential back roads, Hunt said Lasagna believed the suspect was trying to evade the pursuing detective. When Lasagna turned on his sirens, the car fled westbound onto Highway 267, eventually turning onto Cambridge Drive, where the fleeing car became cornered in a cul-de-sac, Hunt said. It was there that Lasagna was able to place Terry into custody without incident around 12:30 p.m.
“(Lasagna) did some very good case work leading up to this arrest,” Hunt said.
Hunt said Terry admitted Tuesday to armed robberies on March 24 at the Village Pharmacy in Incline Village and a Reno pharmacy, on May 1 at a pharmacy inside the Sierra Market in Colfax, and on May 16 at the same Kings Beach Rite Aid.
“There was also evidence corroborating his confession,” Hunt said.
Terry’s home in Reno was being searched for evidence as of Tuesday evening, Hunt said.
A fake handgun recovered inside Terry’s car appears consistent with descriptions of a handgun reportedly used the last time the Kings Beach pharmacy was robbed, Hunt said, which was on July 16.
Terry was unarmed at the time of his arrest, said Hunt, adding that the entire area would be searched for weapons.
“The pursuit did go through a residential area, where there are kids around,” Hunt said.
Terry is also suspected of two robberies that occurred in a pharmacy in Concord, Calif. — the most recent of which was Monday — where prescription drugs were stolen, Hunt said.
That robbery resulted in a reported fight between the suspect and a pharmacy clerk, according to Concord Police.
During that fight, the suspect’s left ring finger was partially bitten off by the clerk, Hunt said.
Upon his arrest Tuesday, Hunt noted that Terry’s left ring finger was heavily bandaged.
Terry was booked into PCSO Auburn station around 9 p.m., charged with multiple felony robbery counts, not to mention the charges he will face in other jurisdictions, Hunt said.
“Our District Attorney’s office will contact the other jurisdictions,” Hunt said.
They could work out a deal and prosecute in one place or do it through the various jurisdictions, Hunt added.
“It just depends on what the DAs agree to.”