Drug stores vulnerable targets of criminals, judge says

Two men who held up a Pharmasave in Fredericton have been sentenced to prison by a judge who says drug stores have become vulnerable targets of robbers.

Drug addiction 'bane of our existence,' Judge Brian McLean says while sentencing Pharmasave robbers

A New Brunswick judge says drug stores have become vulnerable targets for robberies.

"People who work in pharmacies have become targets. They're vulnerable people," said Fredericton provincial court Judge Brian McLean.

Kyle Cameron and Tyson Colford have both been sentenced to prison for holding up a Pharmasave in Fredericton on Feb. 24. (Shane Fowler/CBC)
"At one time it was the [convenience] stores and those employees were frequently subjected to robbery. That still happens of course, but now, because of pharmacies having what they have to sell, and drug addiction becoming the bane of our existence, pharmacists have become very vulnerable people. That's not what they signed up for."

McLean made the comments on Friday while sentencing the two men who held up the Pharmasave at knifepoint on Prospect Street on Feb. 24.

Kyle Alexander Cameron, 24, of Saint John, and Tyson Paul Colford, 26, of Moncton, were both handed prison sentences.

The men, who both suffered from drug addictions, made off with nearly 2,500 prescription pills, with a wholesale value of about $1,400, but a street value of up to $60,000, the courtroom heard.

They were arrested about three hours later, after an armed standoff at the nearby Howard Johnson Hotel. 

Cameron, who had threatened to slice the throats of the employees and customers in the store, said he was off his methadone at the time.

"I just went crazy, couldn't handle myself. I just did whatever," he told the courtroom.

Colford's life started spiralling after his girlfriend gave birth to his best friend's child, while Colford was away working as small-business owner in Alberta. That's where he committed his first robbery and served 34 months in prison, the courtroom was told.

Cameron, who previously pleaded guilty to robbing the Pharmasave while armed with a knife and being masked, was sentenced to three years.

He received an additional three years for robbing the MediTrust Pharmacy in Saint John on Feb. 4 while masked, and one month for stealing merchandise from Port City Pharmacy in Saint John on Feb. 20.

Colford was sentenced to three-and-a-half years for his role in the Pharmasave robbery.

He received an additional two years behind bars for possession of a sawed-off shotgun, six months for violating a weapons prohibition order, three months for impersonation, and another three months for being unlawfully at large.

Colford was co-operative from the time of his arrest, even admitting to the shotgun possession before the police even knew about it, the courtroom heard.