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Man sentenced for pharmacy robbery

October 03. 2013 11:06PM

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WILKES-BARRE — A man charged with robbing a Nanticoke pharmacy at gunpoint and getting away with painkillers was sentenced Thursday to one to two years in state prison.

Mark Steven Benjamin Sr., 41, of North Sherman Street, Wilkes-Barre, was sentenced on two counts of robbery and one count each of theft and a weapons charge.

Luzerne County Judge Fred Pierantoni said Benjamin must also serve three years probation after his prison term and gave him credit for nine days of time already served in prison.

Benjamin, who was represented by attorney John Donoavan, pleaded guilty to the charges in June. Assistant District Attorney Tom Hogans prosecuted the case Thursday.

Benjamin, who had been free on $100,000 bail since July, was taken to the county prison to be transported to a state prison to begin serving his sentence.

According to court papers, Nanticoke police responded to Spotanski’s Pharmacy on Prospect Street on June 25, 2012, after an armed robbery was reported. Pharmacist Kathy Smith told police a man entered the store and demanded fentanyl or painkillers while pointing what appeared to be a shotgun in a large garbage bag in her direction.

Smith said she could see only the end of the shotgun barrel and feared for her life.

Smith told the man she had no fentanyl but quickly gave him a bottle of generic Oxycodone and acetaminophen tablets she had in front of her. The man took the bottle and ran from the store. A store employee told police the robber ran north on South Prospect Street.

A short time later, police were notified by Hanover Township police they spotted a man who fit Benjamin’s description on Middle Road near the entrance to the Hanover Industrial Park. Benjamin was pulled over in a truck owned by his mother.

Police said Benjamin told them he committed the crime, he was sorry and he had intended to sell the drugs. He told police he hid a “broken shotgun” under a bed in a spare bedroom of his mother’s house in Nanticoke, changed his shirt and hid it and a baseball cap in the truck.

Benjamin will be required to pay $105 in restitution to the pharmacy and is not permitted to enter Spotanski’s.

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