Woman pleads guilty in armed robbery of Hurricane pharmacy

Police officers are seen going through a car used by two suspects in an armed robbery of the Hurricane Family Pharmacy, Hurricane, Utah, June 21, 2016 | Photo by Mori Kessler, St. George News

ST. GEORGE – A woman who was half of a couple accused of armed robbery and taking part in vehicle burglaries pleaded guilty in court Tuesday.

Elizabeth Lynn Richards, 33, of LaVerkin, entered guilty pleas in 5th District Court to amended charges of second-degree felony aggravated robbery and third-degree felony forgery. Other charges originally tagged onto the cases, including multiple charges of aggravated assault and vehicle burglary, were dropped.

Elizabeth Richards, of LaVerkin, Utah, bookings photo, June 21, 2016 | Photo courtesy of the Washington County Sheriff's Office, St. George News
Elizabeth Richards, of LaVerkin, Utah, booking photo, June 21, 2016 | Photo courtesy of the Washington County Sheriff’s Office, St. George News

The second-degree felony can carry a sentence of up to 15 years in prison, while the third-degree felony can carry up to five years.

Sentencing has been scheduled for Oct. 31.

The second-degree felony stems from the armed robbery of the Hurricane Family Pharmacy shortly before 6 p.m. June 21.

During the incident, Kevin Richards, Elizabeth Richards’ husband, allegedly entered the pharmacy wearing a bandana and a hat in an attempt to hide his appearance and pointed a pistol at five employees.

He demanded medication, particularly oxycodone, and at one point started a countdown as employees grabbed the demanded items. He subsequently left the scene with a large amount of medication. Employees watched him leave in a white Nissan Altima that Elizabeth Richards was driving, according to court papers.

Hurricane City Police located the Nissan soon after and took Kevin and Elizabeth Richards into custody without incident.

“Located within the vehicle were several bottles of medication identified as oxycodone, confirmed to be from the pharmacy,” a Hurricane City Police officer wrote in the probable cause statement.

Police officers going through a car used by two suspects in an armed robbery of the Hurricane Family Pharmacy, Hurricane, Utah, June 21, 2016 | Photo by Mori Kessler, St. George News
Police officers are seen going through a car used by two suspects in an armed robbery of the Hurricane Family Pharmacy, Hurricane, Utah, June 21, 2016 | Photo by Mori Kessler, St. George News

After being taken to the Police Department and given her Miranda rights, Elizabeth Richards told police she had been picking up medication at the pharmacy and left prior to the robbery. She said she witnessed nothing suspicious and that her husband stayed in the car the whole time.

“When pressed about her involvement in this incident, Elizabeth requested to speak to an attorney,” according to the probable cause statement.

Kevin Richards told police that his wife wasn’t involved in the robbery. Instead, he said a third party named “Sketchy” had committed the robbery instead.

He said he had been out and about trying to find someone to sell him pills. Along the way he met Sketchy in LaVerkin. Sketchy said he had a prescription for oxycodone, so Kevin Richards took him to the pharmacy where the prescription could be filled. Kevin told police he had hoped to buy some pills off Sketchy as he has an addiction to them.

Sketchy was the only person that went into the pharmacy, Kevin Richards said, and then exited with a white bag. He said Sketchy was acting strange after leaving the pharmacy, and after departing, told Elizabeth Richards to stop the car. When she did, he grabbed some bottles from the bag and bolted, telling Kevin the rest of the bottles in the white bag were his, according to the probable cause statement.

Hurricane City Police officers investigate the report of an armed robbery at the Hurricane Family Pharmacy, Hurricane, Utah, June 21, 2016 | Photo by Mori Kessler, St. George News
Hurricane City Police officers investigate the report of an armed robbery at the Hurricane Family Pharmacy, Hurricane, Utah, June 21, 2016 | Photo by Mori Kessler, St. George News

Kevin Richards said he was confused about what was going on and it was only a few minutes later that the police pulled the car over.

Elizabeth Richards made no mention of a third party.

During the investigation, police searched the Nissan for evidence, as well as the route which it had traveled. Along the way they found a pistol, later confirmed to be a .38 caliber revolver which had been thrown from the vehicle while it was driven from the pharmacy.

In addition to pleading guilty to her part in the pharmacy robbery, Elizabeth Richards also pleaded guilty in relation to her involvement in vehicle burglaries she and Kevin Richards are accused of committing earlier that month.

Kevin Scott Richards, of LaVerkin, Utah, bookings photo, June 21, 2016 | Photo courtesy of the Washington County Sheriff's Office, St. George News
Kevin Scott Richards, of LaVerkin, Utah, booking photo, June 21, 2016 | Photo courtesy of the Washington County Sheriff’s Office, St. George News

The Richards are alleged by police to have broken into a number of vehicles and taken items that included a checkbook, briefcase and laptop, among other things. Elizabeth Richards used two checks from the stolen checkbook that amounted to nearly $1700.

Police searched the Richards’ home where they located a briefcase and checkbook in addition to a firearm reported stolen out of northern Utah. Tickets for items pawned at local pawn shops were also found, as was alleged drug paraphernalia.

Last week Kevin Richards appeared in U.S. District Court and was charged with a “Hobbs Act Robbery” in relation to the armed robbery of the Hurricane Family Pharmacy. The charge equates to using violence or a threat of violence to commit a robbery that disrupts commerce. It carries a potential 20-year prison term.

He was also charged with being a felon in possession of a firearm; and using, carrying and brandishing that firearm during a criminal act.

A count of being a felon with a firearm can carry a maximum of 10 years, while using and brandishing a firearm during a crime can carry a minimum mandatory term of seven years.

It is anticipated that Utah’s criminal case of Kevin Richards will be dropped due to it being picked up in U.S. District Court, Assistant U.S. Attorney Paul Kohler said last week.

Kevin Richards pleaded not guilty to the federal charges and is scheduled to go to trial in November.

Email: mkessler@stgnews.com

Twitter: @MoriKessler

Copyright St. George News, SaintGeorgeUtah.com LLC, 2016, all rights reserved.

 

Free News Delivery by Email

Would you like to have the day's news stories delivered right to your inbox every evening? Enter your email below to start!

Posted in Local, NewsTagged , , , , ,

6 Comments

  • DesertBill September 21, 2016 at 7:19 pm

    “Kohler pleaded not guilty to the federal charges and it scheduled to go to trial in November.” I think you mean Kevin Richards.

    • Nancy Perkins Nancy Perkins September 21, 2016 at 10:22 pm

      Thank you, DesertBill, for noticing this error and letting us know. It has been corrected. Thank you for reading and being a great part of St. George News!
      Nancy Perkins
      Editor

  • .... September 22, 2016 at 3:20 am

    Plea bargain. .community service. 20 dollar fine. next case !

    • Ron September 22, 2016 at 11:06 am

      Sadly, that’s about how it will turn out, 4 dot. Recall the Judge that let the plyg free on home arrest and vanished?

      • .... September 22, 2016 at 11:28 am

        Yep. typical Utah justice

        • RealMcCoy September 23, 2016 at 4:14 pm

          But it happened in Hurricane! She’s suffered enough! #NoCharges #Fundraiser

          It’s not like she killed a baby or anything…

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.