Officer Spots Armed Robber Leaving Wauwatosa Walgreens, Chases Him Down
Sitting at traffic light Tuesday, a Wauwatosa patrolman hears call that a Walgreens right in front of him is being robbed at that moment. The suspect, already charged, admits to two other recent robberies for narcotics.
A Wauwatosa police officer had just pulled up to the corner of North Mayfair Road and West Capitol Drive on Tuesday afternoon when a dispatch call came over his radio.
"Armed robbery in progress at the Walgreens, 10800 W. Capitol Drive..." – a couple hundred feet away.
Hearing further that the robber was leaving the store at that moment, the officer hit his lights and started across the intersection, already in pursuit even as he saw the suspect run out the door.
He easily caught up with his man in the alley behind the store before he could even get into his running getaway car.
Robert John Schweitzer, 24, of Wauwatosa was charged Thursday afternoon in Milwaukee County Circuit Court with that crime and two more counts of armed robbery, in each case for using a gun to hold up pharmacies for narcotics.
According to police reports, Schweitzer walked into the Walgreens shortly after 1 p.m. Tuesday wearing a ski mask and carrying a .38-caliber pistol, went to the pharmacy counter and demanded, "Give me all your Oxy's or Perc's. I'm not playing around. This is for real!"
The pharmacy technician understood him to mean prescription narcotics Oxycodone or Percocet and, later telling officers that her father is a gun aficionado, even correctly identified the caliber of the weapon Schweitzer had pointed at her.
She fumbled for a bag, but Schweitzer told her to skip it and hurry up, he had a bag ready.
The woman grabbed five bottles of pills from the narcotics safe, dropped one, and handed Schweitzer the rest. The moment after he turned around to go, she called a "Code 99," for a theft or robbery in progress.
A half dozen witnesses, clerks and customers, saw or heard Schweitzer pounding down the aisles on his way out and then slam into the doors at full speed. The automatic doors had already been deactivated, but after a brief scramble, Schweitzer managed to pry them open and make his escape.
He was jogging back to his Ford Explorer, still running in the alley with his girlfriend in the passenger seat, when the flashing lights of a Wauwatosa patrol car appeared right behind him.
Schweitzer ran, fell, got up and dropped or threw his weapon in the snow, and was halted just before he got to the Explorer.
Officers tracing Schweitzer's footprints recovered the gun, a .380 "Hellcat," from the snow.
Schweitzer admitted to police that he had also committed armed robberies on Feb. 18 of the CVS pharmacy at 7520 Blue Mound Road and Feb. 20 of the CVS at 5929 W. Lisbon Ave. in Milwaukee.
Schweitzer was questioned about other recent robberies in which cash or cigarettes were taken by armed, masked men, but he denied any part in those, saying he didn't need money, he only robbed to support his narcotic addiction.
Schweitzer also said he never sold any of the drugs he stole but used them all himself, shooting ground up Oxy's about every half hour.
Asked about his whereabouts since the two CVS robberies, Schweitzer said he and his girlfriend had gone Up North to the Tomahawk area because the heat was on him.
Shortly after the Blue Mound robbery Feb. 18, Wauwatosa police had released still photos from store security video, and Schweitzer said he'd gotten "five or 10 calls" from friends telling him they'd recognized him as the robber.
But his drug addiction got the better of him, Schweitzer said. He'd gotten rid of the distinctive blaze orange ski mask and the jacket he'd worn in those holdups and hoped he wouldn't be recognized when he came back and pulled more robberies.
It didn't matter, of course, since a Tosa patrol officer happened to be in exactly the right place at the right time.