Senoia pharmacy burglary suspect arrested

by Wes Mayer

A man suspected of being involved in the burglary of a Senoia pharmacy last July and the attempted burglary of the same store in December was arrested on Monday by authorities with the Senoia Police Department.

The burglary occurred during the early morning hours of July 26, 2013, said Lt. Jason Ercole with the Senoia Police Department. That morning, Senoia police officers responded to the Senoia Drug Company to check on an alarm and found the store had been broken into. Since the doors were heavily secured, the suspect actually cut a hole in the exterior siding to gain entry. More than 3,400 Hydrocodone pills were stolen.

According to Ercole, investigators reviewed the pharmacy’s security tapes and saw a suspect wearing all black clothing with a mask and gloves, but they were unable to identify him. Due to the gloves, no fingerprints were left behind either. Some crucial information was gathered from the video, but the case stalled until December, Ercole said.

Around 3:10 a.m. on Dec. 23, Officer Lee Huddleston with the Senoia Police Department pulled over Rico Shondale Ussery, 35, on Highway 16 for a non-working taillight. Ussery was pulled over in the area of the Senoia Drug Company, Ercole said. Huddleston identified Ussery, and found he was driving on a suspended license and had an outstanding warrant from another jurisdiction for failing to appear in court. Ussery also had a two-way radio, a police radio traffic scanner and an identity card of Denzel Kewon Poole, 22, out of North Carolina, in his possession.

According to Ercole, although the possession of Poole’s identity card was suspicious, Huddleston could not connect it to any criminal activity. Ussery was still arrested for the suspended license and outstanding warrant, and was transported to the Coweta County Jail.

Hours later, investigators learned a suspect attempted to break into the Senoia Drug Company that same night, Ercole said. Investigators responded, reviewed surveillance tapes and saw a suspect attempting to pry open the rear door of the pharmacy — this time, however, right at 3:10 a.m., the suspect abandoned the attempt and fled the scene.

According to Ercole, investigators obtained search warrants, searched Ussery’s vehicle and possessions at the jail and discovered a link between Ussery and both the July and December burglaries. A link between the burglaries and Poole was also discovered.

Investigators believe Poole was the suspect who stole the 3,400 Hydrocodone pills in July and who abandoned prying open the pharmacy’s rear door in December, Ercole said — he fits the description better than Ussery. Ussery is believed to have been the driver and lookout for Poole, and Ussery must have contacted Poole when he was being pulled over in December.

Warrants on charges of burglary in the first degree and criminal attempt to commit burglary were issued for both men, Ercole said, and Ussery was arrested Monday when he arrived at the Senoia Police Department to inquire about some citations he received on Dec. 23. Poole has not yet been taken into custody, but active warrants are out for his arrest.

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