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Man arrested in string of OxyContin robberies

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SANDY — Police arrested a man at a South Jordan motel Thursday night, just hours after an OxyContin robbery at the Alta View Hospital pharmacy.

Just after noon on Thursday, a man walked into the pharmacy, 9660 S. 1300 East, handed the clerk a note demanding OxyContin and stating he had a gun. It was the same method used in a number of other OxyContin robberies across Salt Lake County in recent weeks, primarily at Walgreens stores.

Tips generated by media coverage of the robberies led police to the Sleep Inn Motel, where they arrested a 23-year-old man without incident.

Police believe the man took more than 100 OxyContin pills from the hospital pharmacy, said Sandy Police Sgt. Victor Quezada.

Sandy police surrounded the hospital believing the culprit might still be inside and possibly had changed clothes in an attempt to hide. But a search of the hospital turned up nothing, Quezada said.

That incident followed one on Wednesday. About 8:40 a.m. a man entered a Walgreens store near 1300 East and 12300 South, handed the clerk a note demanding narcotics and indicating he had a gun, although none was seen, said Draper Police Sgt. Scott Peck.

"It's likely the same suspect that robbed South Jordan," he said.

A Walgreens pharmacy in South Jordan was robbed just a couple of days earlier, likely by the same man, according to police. Similar robberies were reported in West Valley and Taylorsville.

Right after the Draper robbery Wednesday, the man reportedly went back to the South Jordan store but ran off when employees recognized him as soon as he entered, Peck said.

Chad R. Mecham was arrested and booked into the Salt Lake County Jail Thursday night.

Contributing: Wendy Leonard

E-mail: preavy@desnews.com