By Rosemary K. Otzman
Two armed robbers ran out the back door of Health Smart Pharmacy, 10824 Belleville Road, with a big, black trash bag full of drugs and two handguns at about 2:20 p.m. Thursday.
Numerous people called 911 to report that two black males with guns were robbing the pharmacy.
Witnesses told Van Buren Township police that both subjects were wearing gray hooded sweatshirts and dark-colored shoes. The subjects ran northeast toward Belleville Road.
According to witnesses, the pharmacy had been robbed the week before so two, plainclothes DEA agents were parked outside the front door on Oct. 24.
The two robbers ran to the detention pond behind Taco Bell and jumped the fence. Using a tracking dog from the University of Michigan, Van Buren Township Police located the two and took them into custody without incident.
A witness said police also were stationed at the nearby exits to I-94 to watch for a getaway vehicle.
The witness said a large number of police officers with long guns and drawn handguns were on hand when the suspects were apprehended.
The witness said that the two had thrown the trash bag full of drugs into the pond along with both of their handguns. Police retrieved the bag and dumped it out on the grass. The witness said there were about 50 large white drug containers that tumbled out of the bag.
One of the semi-automatic pistols they carried was immediately found on the edge of the pond and the next day, on Friday, the VBT Dive Team retrieved the second weapon from the pond.
On Friday morning, the VBT Dive Team launched a small, inflated boat into the pond and an officer prodded around with a metal detector and placed rods in the pond where metal was detected so divers would know where to search in the murky waters.
The witness said when police grabbed the two inside the fencing next to the pond, they immediately handcuffed them and lifted them over the fence.
One robber was a 15-year-old Inkster boy. A witness said he was small, about five feet tall. Police said the teen was lodged in the Wayne County Youth Detention Center pending a Family Court hearing.
The second subject, Michael Earl-Chavis Lee of Lincoln Park, was arraigned on Saturday, Oct. 26 on three counts of armed robbery, one count of assault with a dangerous weapon (felonious assault), and one count of felony fire arm.
Lee, who turned 29 on Oct. 30, is being held without bond and his preliminary exam is set for 9 a.m., Nov. 6, at the 34th District Court in Romulus.
Taco Bell was closed for a three-hour span for another issue last Thursday and police told workers that the two escaping subjects might have run into their restaurant to hide had it not been closed up.
A channel 4 helicopter hovered over the scene, but reportedly no report was televised.
A witness said a grey van with no windows in the back drove slowly by the scene twice as the suspects were arrested and then the van drove off.
By Rosemary K. Otzman