Accused robber who apologized goes to police

By: Angela Starke Email
By: Angela Starke Email

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WVLT) - Police say a man who appeared to have some sympathy for the pharmacist he was robbing turned himself in Monday morning.

Knoxville Police say Joshua Taylor Williams went to a Tennessee Highway Patrol post after seeing himself plastered across the media.

Williams is now facing charges for the robbery at Walgreen's in the 8900 block of Kingston Pike.

Police say the surveillance photos show a calm Williams walking into the store shortly before 9 Sunday morning and then waiting for customers to leave the pharmacy area. Police say he then jumped the counter and demanded Oxycodone 15s. Before leaving, police say, Williams told the pharmacist: "I'm sorry I have to do this," and jumped back over the counter and left the store.

Mike McGowan and Paul Stearns, two former New York cops talking outside Walgreen's on Monday, say you almost feel sorry for the guy.

"He's addicted. He's, like any other condition - he can't help himself," McGowan said.

"I think people feel sympathetic toward anyone who's addicted to something," said Stearns. "You know it's a sad case."

According to the police report, most of the narcotics were put away. But there were 156 pills not locked up. Walgreen's management said the pills the robber got away with were not Oxycontin. The store has a time-lock safe that makes it almost impossible to steal addictive narcotics.

"More and more people are having more and more issues with Oxycodone," said Eric French, 31.

French says his generation has had a hard time with pill addiciton.

"I think we grew up where a pill will fix anything and you can give somebody one and they think they're better. But that's not neccessarily the case," French said.

Williams may soon learn that lesson now that he's in police custody. But his story is one even two tough New York cops identify with.

Said Stearns: "Emotionally we've all been in circumstances where we've done things we didn't want to do. And you gotta pay the consequences for it. I think the guy was really heartfelt at what he had to do. But he came from a good background. At least he apologized."


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