News

Pair each sentenced to two years for pharmacy robberies

by Monisha Martins, Black Press

A pair of men from Maple Ridge received two-year sentences for a three-month crime spree in 2012 that targeted pharmacies in several communities, including Abbotsford.

Ryan Allan Olson and Luke Stuart Thom Ash pleaded guilty to several counts of robbery and one count each of theft last August, but were recently sentenced to a provincial prison term of two years less a day.

Olson, 28, confessed to robbing five pharmacies in Maple Ridge, Port Moody, Langley, Surrey and Abbotsford between Aug. 21 and Oct. 12, 2012 to steal narcotics such as oxycodone, Tylenol 3s and morphine.

Ash, meanwhile, admitted to three robberies. According to a search warrant application, the men used fake guns to hold up the pharmacies and sometimes disguised their faces with surgical masks.

Ridge Meadows RCMP nabbed the pair after an extensive, cross-jurisdictional investigation that included surveillance.

Police also got a warrant for their cell phone records and found several incriminating text messages, boasting about the robberies.

Afterward, Olson would also text out a list of stolen drugs to potential customers.

“Need to make rent next month,” said one text. “Let’s drive out to Richmond, Vancouver, North Van … whatever.”

In a second text, Ash tells Olson they are a “killer team.”

“The funny thing is it doesn’t even faze me doing that … it’s almost fun,” Ash typed in another.

Olson, a drug addict, joked in another text: “I’m trying to make my life better – that’s why I’m hitting pharmacies.”

Ridge Meadows RCMP required the help of Surrey RCMP’s robbery unit, Langley RCMP’s general investigation section, as well as both Abbotsford and Port Moody police to build a case against Ash and Olson.

Olson will be going to prison while Ash is being allowed to serve his sentence in the community.

Both men also received 18 months' probation.

Ash was a realtor in Maple Ridge, but the Real Estate Council of British Columbia confirmed his licence was suspended after he was charged.

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