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UPDATE: Coupeville drugstore robbery suspect nabbed in Oregon
A man suspected in the Jan. 4 armed robbery of Linds Pharmacy and Drug in Coupeville was caught after committing a similar crime in Oregon, according to the Island County Sheriff’s Office.
George Skurtu, a 22-year-old Bremerton resident, and his alleged accomplice were stopped by police Jan. 7 after a robbery at the Pill Box Pharmacy in Dallas, Ore.
The Island County Sheriff’s Office reported that the two robberies were very similar. Skurtu allegedly wore a ski mask and was armed with a small revolver in both robberies, detectives say. He stole bottles of the prescription painkiller OxyContin in both cases.
Wallace said the central Oregon authorities contacted the Island County Sheriff’s Office after reading several informational bulletins sent to surrounding police agencies.
“We’re very sure we’ve got the right guy,” Wallace told the Whidbey News-Times Wednesday afternoon.
Detective Ed Wallace said a search warrant served in Oregon uncovered evidence that ties Skurtu to the Coupeville robbery. He said details about the evidence aren’t being released yet.
Wallace said Skurtu doesn’t have any apparent ties to Coupeville or Whidbey Island.
“As far as we can tell, his sole purpose for being on the island was to commit the robbery,” Wallace said, adding that the Keystone ferry provides a convenient route between Bremerton and Coupeville.
Linds was robbed by a man who walked into the store at 10:25 a.m. Monday morning, Jan. 4. He brandished a handgun and demanded OxyContin. He threw a backpack at the clerk, got the drugs and ran out.
“He took everything on the shelf in every strength,” store manager Adam Lind told the Whidbey News-Times.
Wallace said detectives in Island County are continuing their investigation, but aren’t in a big hurry to obtain an arrest warrant for Skurtu. He’s being held in Oregon on $500,000 bail.
“He’s not going anywhere,” Wallace said.
Skurtu was arrested in Oregon on suspicion of armed robbery, unlawful use of a weapon and possession of controlled substances.
Skurtu’s alleged accomplice in the Oregon robbery, 22-year-old Quino Duenas, was arrested on suspicion of hindering prosecution. Wallace said Island County detectives can’t tie anyone besides Skurtu to the robbery, at least at this point.
Skurtu was a 2006 graduate of Bremerton High School and a star football player, according to Bremertonfootball.com.