The Delaware man arrested earlier this month for the armed robbery that caused several area schools and a hospital to lock their doors pleaded not guilty Monday.
Bond was set at $100,000 for Brian Armstrong, 30, in Judge Duncan Whitney’s Common Pleas Court. Armstrong appeared in court in an orange jumpsuit and shackles, flanked by his appointed public defender, O. Ross Long.
Other than to answer the judge’s questions, Armstrong remained quiet throughout the process.
Armstrong was indicted this month on one count of aggravated robbery, a first-degree felony; three counts of kidnapping, all first-degree felonies; one count of robbery, a second-degree felony; and one count each of tampering with evidence and theft, both third-degree felonies.
Prosecutors contend Armstrong, wearing silver paint on his face, entered the Medicine Shoppe Pharmacy at 90 Troy Road shortly before 11 a.m. Nov. 16, holding three employees at gunpoint demanding money and drugs.
Witnesses told police the suspect, identified as Armstrong, then ran across Central Avenue through neighborhood yards before being caught four hours later at the Sundale Mobile Home Park off U.S. 36/Ohio 37E after a city-wide manhunt involving K9 units with the Delaware County Sheriff’s Office and a helicopter from the Ohio State Highway Patrol.
Carlisle and Conger elementary schools, Dempsey Middle School, Hayes High School, Ohio Wesleyan University’s Sanborn Hall and Grady Memorial Hospital all went on lockdown after the robbery, causing some panic in the community, said Brian J. Walter, assistant prosecuting attorney.
Police said that Armstrong, just prior to committing the crime, tried to create a diversion by calling 911 anonymously and falsely reported hearing gunshots. He gave police an address on East Central Avenue, the opposite end of town of the Medicine Shoppe in an effort to draw attention away from his intended target, Delaware Police have said.
Armstrong has a lengthy criminal record in Delaware County, which includes felony convictions of receiving stolen property, theft and forgery. His trial date is set for 9 a.m. Feb. 2 in Judge Whitney’s courtroom.