Drug thief given 8-16 years

BELLEFONTE – A Clearfield man was sentenced in Centre County Court Friday in connection with a robbery at a Philipsburg pharmacy in 2011.

Brett Middleton was sentenced by Judge Pamela Ruest to serve eight to 16 years in a state correctional institution and pay more than $16,000 in restitution.

Middleton was sentenced on charges of possession with intent to deliver, three counts of robbery and firearms not to be carried without a license.

According to the Centre County District Attorney’s office, on Nov. 16, 2011, Middleton and an associate, Shawn Demko, entered Grattan’s Pharmacy, masked and armed with pistols. The men rounded up all of the employees and forced them to the ground, threatening their lives and training the pistols on them.

They demanded the pharmacist open the safe and fill bags with more than $16,000 in narcotics including Adderall, Amphetamine salts, Hydromorphine, Oxycodone and Oxycontin among others. The men also stole a pistol during the crime as a getaway driver waited outside.

A search warrant allowed the state police to search Demko’s truck and residence where they located the remnants of the drugs and guns used in the robbery. Later, while attempting to serve an arrest warrant on Demko, a standoff with authorities took place when he barricaded himself inside and refused to surrender.

After several demands from police to come out of the house, a gunshot was heard and it was discovered that Demko had taken his own life.

Cellphone records and text messages between the two indicated that Middleton was Demko’s partner in crime in the robbery, the district atttorney’s office said.