News and Press Releases

EDMONDS MAN PLEADS GUILTY TO PHARMACY ROBBERY
Multiple Pharmacies Targeted

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
October 16, 2007

CHRISTIAN KLASSEN, 25, of Edmonds, Washington, pleaded guilty today in U.S. District Court in Seattle to pharmacy robbery, and admitted targeting pharmacies in Marysville, Washington and in Edmonds, Washington. Pharmacy robbery is a felony offense punishable by up to twenty years imprisonment and a two hundred fifty thousand dollar fine.

Court documents indicate that on the evening of July 31, 2007, KLASSEN joined with co-defendant Justin Bacus in attempting to rob an Albertson’s Pharmacy, located at 11401 NE State Avenue (Smokey Point Boulevard), in Marysville, Washington. Prior to the robbery, KLASSEN drove Bacus in a PT Cruiser to the parking lot of Marshall Elementary School in Marysville, where KLASSEN removed a license plate from a vehicle, and placed it on the PT Cruiser to disguise that vehicle. KLASSEN then drove Bacus to the Albertson’s. Prior to exiting the vehicle, Bacus wrote out a demand note which read: “Give me all your Oxycontin or I’ll start shooting. You have 60 seconds.” Bacus indicated to KLASSEN that he was carrying a firearm under his clothing. It was agreed that KLASSEN would wait for Bacus behind the store and drive him away after the robbery. Both KLASSEN and Bacus were going to split the drugs acquired through the robbery. At approximately 9:00 p.m., Bacus entered the pharmacy and approached the counter. Bacus handed the demand note to the pharmacist. He also put a hand in his waistband, exposing the handle of a loaded .22 caliber semi-automatic pistol. The pharmacist started yelling and ran away from the counter. Bacus then ran through an alarmed door at the rear of the pharmacy where he was picked up by KLASSEN. As the two drove away, they were stopped by the police. Both KLASSEN and Bacus confessed their involvement. Under the front seat of their car was the .22 caliber pistol. Also in the car was a shotgun, a pellet gun, and drug use paraphernalia, including a pill crusher.

As part of his guilty plea, KLASSEN also admitted that several days prior, on July 22, 2007, both he and Bacus participated in the afternoon robbery of a Rite-Aid Pharmacy, located at 22515 Highway 99 in Edmonds, Washington, successfully absconding with several bottles of oxycodone. That robbery was committed in like manner as the Albertson’s Pharmacy robbery, with KLASSEN acting as the “get away” driver.

In addition to pleading guilty, KLASSEN agreed to pay restitution to the Rite-Aid Pharmacy for the value of the drugs taken.

KLASSEN is scheduled to be sentenced by U.S. District Judge Ricardo S. Martinez on January 18, 2008. Bacus has already pleaded guilty in United States District Court and is awaiting sentencing.

This was an Organized Crime and Drug Enforcement Task Force (OCDETF) investigation, providing supplemental federal funding to the federal and state agencies involved. The case was investigated by the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), Northwest High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area (NW HIDTA), the Marysville Police Department and the Edmonds Police Department.

This case was prosecuted as part of a series of cases by federal authorities in order to address pharmacies being targeted for burglaries and robberies in this area.

The case is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Ronald J. Friedman.

For additional information please contact Emily Langlie, Public Affairs Officer for the United States Attorney’s Office, at (206) 553-4110.

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