Coheed and Cambria bassist Michael Todd was arraigned yesterday in Massachusetts on charges of armed robbery and drug possession after police say he robbed a Walgreens pharmacy on Sunday, hours before his band was set to open for Soundgarden at Mansfield’s Comcast Center.
The Boston Globe has new details on the robbery. When the pharmacist told Todd she didn’t have any OxyContin, he allegedly responded, “I’ll take your Perc 30s,’’ 30-milligram pills of Percocet. She gave him several bottles of oxycodone, the main ingredient in OxyContin.
Soon after he fled, four police officers arrived at Walgreens and interviewed the pharmacist. A police officer noticed a fresh path on the grass behind the building; a witness told police they saw someone running, and then jumping into a brown minivan taxi. Police discovered the name of the taxi company, which directed police to Todd’s tour bus at the Comcast Center, where he was arrested. At his arraignment, the judge raised his bail from $10,000 to $25,000 and set a preliminary hearing for August 9th.
Todd’s alleged crime may sound drastic, but more than 1,800 pharmacy robberies have occurred in the U.S. in the last three years. They’re crimes typically committed by young men seeking opioids – a class of chemicals that can suppress pain but also create a high, found in OxyContin, vicodin and Percocet. The crimes have caused many stores to upgrade their surveillance cameras, install bulletproof glass and keep OxyContin bottles with tracking devices.
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“In terms of why he was so desperate – he didn’t want to get sick,” says Dr. Dan Alford, associate professor of medicine at the Boston University School of Medicine. “It wasn’t so much probably to get high. It was more to do with, ‘If I don’t get something, I’m going to get deathly ill and not be able to perform.’”
Todd was convicted of drug possession in 2004 in Florida and was recently convicted of operating under the influence in New York. In 2006, he left the band to seek treatment for heroin addiction and returned the following year.
Alford tells Rolling Stone he sees many patients who have gone to dangerous measures to get OxyContin and similar drugs. “Although people say you don’t die from opioid withdrawal, if you can imagine the worst flu of your life, and you can take something immediately and feel totally back to normal, there’s a tremendous drive to prevent feeling sick.”