Brothers arrested in connection with 2011 Philipsburg robbery

Two Clearfield men have been arrested and charged in the November 2011 armed robbery of a Philipsburg pharmacy in which police have said the gunmen made away with almost 5,000 pills worth nearly $17,000.

Brett Middleton, 33, and his younger brother Shane Middleton, 31, were picked up this week and are being held on $250,000 straight bail in the Centre County Correctional Facility. Police had charged a third suspect, Shawn Demko, of Clearfield, but the man shot and killed himself four days after the robbery when police arrived at his home to arrest him, according to the charging documents in the case.

State police said Brett Middleton confessed to holding up Grattan’s Pharmacy, 230 N. Front St., at about 9:20 a.m. Nov. 16, 2011, with Demko. Brett Middleton told police his brother was the getaway driver, according to the charging documents.

With their faces covered and guns in their hands, Brett Middleton and Demko ordered an employee to open the narcotics safe and load drugs such as Adderall, Oxycodone and Oxycontin into a bag, according to court documents. The robbery was captured on the pharmacy’s surveillance video.

The Middleton brothers face a slew of felony charges, including counts of possession of a controlled substance, robbery, theft, receiving stolen property, and misdemeanors of terroristic threats and possession of a controlled substance.

They’re due in court next week for preliminary hearings. Online court records do not show they have attorneys yet.

Police had zeroed in on Demko as a suspect in the early stages of the investigation, tying his pickup truck to the one seen on video surveillance as the vehicle used in the robbery.

Demko gave police the OK to search his truck and home, and that’s when police said they found bottles of Adderall, Oxycontin and Oxycodone, as well as two weapons. An employee at Grattan’s confirmed the bottles belonged to the pharmacy.

Police used the evidence to charge Demko on Nov. 19, 2011, and the day after, police went to his house to arrest him.

But, police said, Demko didn’t surrender. He barricaded himself inside the house, and police heard a gunshot go off. Demko was found with a gunshot wound to his head, and he was pronounced dead.

A few weeks later in the investigation, police got records from Verizon Wireless showing Demko had communicated via text messages with the Middleton brothers the morning of the robbery. Police said one of the messages asked if the three were “ready to go” and another mentioned they needed more pills.

Around that time, police interviewed Demko’s widow, and she identified one of the robbers as Brett Middleton.

The criminal complaint shows the next activity in the investigation came Aug. 13 of this year, when police got a copy of a statement state police at the DuBois barracks had about a robbery in their coverage area from the November 2011 time frame.

The statement, taken in January 2012, involved a friend of Demko and the Middletons, according to the charging documents. The person said someone nicknamed “Dork” helped out Demko with the Grattan’s robbery, and police connected the nickname with Brett Middleton.

Brett Middleton was arrested Tuesday in Hyde, Clearfield County. The charging documents don’t indicate how Shane Middleton was picked up, but he was arraigned late Thursday night.