A string of armed robberies of area pharmacies might have come to an end last Friday with a parking lot take-down and subsequent arrest. Bill Shipley is a pharmacist you don’t want to rob.
It started as most robberies do. Council Bluffs Police say that around 1 p.m. on Friday, Kelton Houts, of Carter Lake, walked into the Union Pharmacy, said he had a gun and demanded Oxycontin.
Shipley sent the staff to the back room for safety.
“I pulled out one bottle and I brought it to him and the he turned to leave. And as he left, I chased him out into the parking lot and I was able to wrestle him to the ground and I held him until the police came."
Shipley said Houts didn't make it easy.
“It was a pretty good struggle,” he said. “I was relieved when the police finally came."
Shipley doesn't have any formal training at this sort of thing but, “I used to play rugby, so I have experience tackling people," he said.
This was the third time he has tackled a would-be thief. It inspired a certificate which was printed next door by Sally Grandick who manages the Copycat Shop.
Sally said, “I've watched him do this three times and each time he has basically beat the crap out of these guys. And I don't know why anybody would ever want to try to rob that pharmacy because they're going to have to meet with Bill every time."
Bill told us, “If he went to another store to rob them and somebody got hurt, I would feel real bad because I could have done something to stop it."
Police say Houts was carrying a BB pistol and CO2 cartridges at the time of his arrest. He is a suspect in several robberies in the metro area. His bond was set at $50,000.
Police say they expect additional charges to be added soon.