EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA

October 10, 2012

Police: Gunman identified from newspaper photo

Tip leads to charges against man in CVS robbery

By Alex Lippa alippa@eagletribune.com
The Eagle-Tribune

---- — HAVERHILL — A photo appearing in The Eagle-Tribune last week led to the arrest of a man who robbed a CVS at gunpoint, police said.

Police arrested Richard Kennedy, 41, of 10 Varnum St, Apt. 2, and charged him with armed robbery while masked. Kennedy was also charged with shooting a gun in connection with another incident on Presidential Drive, police said.

Police said they received information from a resident identifying the person in the photo published Oct. 4 in The Eagle-Tribune as Kennedy. The photo, taken from the store surveillance video, shows a man with a scarf over his face. Officers obtained a search warrant based on the information and used it on Friday morning at his home, where they found the gun from the robbery and pills stolen during the crime, police said.

According to a police report, Kennedy entered the CVS on Lowell Avenue on Sept. 30 and used a fake name to try to refill a prescription for Vyvance, a controlled substance similar to amphetamines. After the name was not found in the system by a pharmacist, Kennedy pulled out a large handgun and demanded the pharmacy worker give him every bottle of Vyvance in the store, police said.

The pharmacist went into a drug safe and handed Kennedy a pharmacy counter basket containing 11 bottles of Vyvance, police said. Kennedy grabbed the basket and bumped into a support column, spilling the contents of the basket. He quickly grabbed 10 of the 11 bottles and fled the CVS, police said. The remaining bottle was gathered as evidence by investigators.

Two days after the robbery, Kennedy was involved in an incident in which he fired a gun during an argument, police said.

A police report said officers were called to Presidential Drive on Oct. 2 for a report of shots being fired. Police talked to the 911 caller, who said a man named Robert showed up at her home, asking to use the bathroom. Kennedy was at the home and asked the man named Robert to leave, the woman said. The 911 caller said the two men argued outside before she heard gunshots. She ran outside and saw Robert run to his motor vehicle and speed out of the parking lot. She then saw Kennedy at the entrance of the parking lot, hiding behind a Dumpster, she said.

Kennedy told the 911 caller that he did not fire the shots. He then became “really scared,” according to the 911 caller, and got in his truck and left the area.

After receiving the tip that the CVS surveillance video photo was of Kennedy, nine Haverhill police officers went to his home on Varnum Street with their search warrant. They found that Kennedy lives in a second-floor apartment, along with his girlfriend and his two sons. Police said after being shown the search warrant, Kennedy initially denied any involvement in the store robbery and the Presidential Drive incident, but then became very cooperative with officers.

Kennedy led officers to the basement of the building, where they recovered the handgun in a bag, police said. Kennedy admitted his involvement in the robbery and told police that he tried to burn the hat, scarf and gloves that he used during the crime, police said. Officers recovered those clothes and also seized a bag of 10 bullets and four bags filled with the stolen pills. When police recovered the pills, Kennedy admitted that he stole them from the CVS, according to a police report.

Police said they then brought Kennedy back to the station and he cooperated during questioning. Kennedy admitted to walking to the CVS from his home and entering the pharmacy with his face covered up, police said. He said that he committed the robbery because he is disabled and suffers severe pain, and that he had a prescription for Vyvanse, but Medicare stopped paying for the prescription and he could no longer afford the pills, police said.

After confessing to the armed robbery, Kennedy then admitted he fired a shot in the air during the argument with the man outside the home on Presidential Drive, according to a police report.

Kennedy was arrested after the interview and charged with armed and masked robbery, using a firearm in a felony, two charges of unlawful possession of a firearm, two charges of unlicensed possession of ammunition, possession of a Class E drug with intent to distribute, assault with a dangerous weapon, and discharging a firearm less than 500 feet away from a building.

Kennedy was arraigned on Friday in Haverhill District Court and is being held without bail at Middleton jail, pending a hearing later this month.