Drugstore Cowboy Busted! Former Detective At 61st Precinct Brought Up On 55 Charges

The suspect.
Video stills of the suspect exiting one of the pharmacies after robbing it. (Source: NYPD via NYTimes.com)

Police yesterday nabbed the “drugstore cowboy,” a burglar who had been terrorizing pharmacies in Sheepshead Bay, Marine Park and Midwood. He last struck on Friday at the Kings Bay Chemist on Nostrand Avenue. He was arraigned today on multiple charges.

We’ll let the New York Times explain:

The former detective, Salvatore DelleCave, 36, was expected to be arraigned Wednesday night on a total of 55 charges of robbery, larceny, possession of drugs and stolen property, and menacing, stemming from five robberies in Marine Park and Sheepshead Bay, according to the district attorney’s office.
…  The robber always managed to disappear quickly, leading some residents to theorize that he lived nearby. Mr. DelleCave lives near East 38th Street and Avenue T in Marine Park.
Mr. DelleCave, who once worked out of the 61st Precinct in Sheepshead Bay, retired on disability after separating his shoulder in 2007 while chasing robbery suspects, the police said.

The NYPD has issued a statement, suggesting that the former detective’s actions were likely driven by a dependency borne from the pain of his injury. They said:

A supervisor on the scene that night in September 2007 recalled that DellaCave, who has lost considerable weight since then, was in agonizing pain from the shoulder separation. Detectives are investigating as a motive for the robberies the possibility that DellaCave had become dependent on powerful painkillers since the incident and his subsequent retirement.

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