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Man suspected in pharmacy robbery caught in Portland

A 26-year-old transient will return to Jackson County to face charges that he robbed a downtown Central Point pharmacy of $8,000 in painkillers while on crutches during the Christmas holidays.

Orion Drew was in custody Monday at the Multnomah County Jail after his arrest in Portland on Friday. The arrest was videotaped by the Central Point police detective who had ferreted out Drew's location, police said.

Drew is awaiting extradition to Medford, where he will face a second-degree burglary charge stemming from the Dec. 27 robbery at the Pharmacy Express, 136 E. Pine St., police said.

Drew allegedly walked into the pharmacy on crutches at 6:30 p.m., brandished a handgun and demanded that employees hand over narcotics.

An employee gave Drew a large bottle of OxyContin tablets with a street value of about $8,000, Central Point police Lt. Chuck Newell said Monday. OxyContin is the registered brand name of the chemical oxycodone, which is a strong pain reliever.

Newell said someone gave Central Point police Detective Brian Day a tenuous lead: only the name "Drew." After hours of computer records checks and interviews, Day discovered that a transient named Orion Drew had a medical condition that required the use of crutches to walk, Newell said.

Additional research turned up information that Drew recently was shuffling between residences in Portland and Vancouver, Wash., Newell said.

Day traveled to Portland last week and conducted surveillance on Drew with the help of Portland police detectives, Newell said.

After discovering Drew was a passenger in a Dodge pickup, more than a half-dozen armed officers stopped the vehicle and arrested Drew, Newell said.

The arrest was in a show of force called a "felony stop" that police use to arrest people in vehicles while ensuring compliance and safety. It was captured on video by Day.

Two others who were with Drew were detained and later released, Newell said.

Reach reporter Mark Freeman at 776-4470, or e-mail mfreeman@mailtribune.com.