Pottstown Man Arrested, Charged in Rite-Aid Robbery

POTTSTOWN PA – A Pottstown man has been arrested and charged by indictment for allegedly brandishing a firearm during the November 2021 robbery of a Rite-Aid Pharmacy in West Philadelphia, according to an announcement Monday (Jan. 10, 2022) by Jennifer Arbittier Williams, U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania.

Patrick Harrison, 39, is accused of committing a Hobbs Act robbery when he is said to have used a gun in demanding money from employees at the City Line Avenue store. He fled the store after stealing about $600, the indictment states. The Hobbs Act of 1946 makes it a federal crime to attempt or commit robbery by means of actual or threatened force, the SCOTUSBlog explains.

Because he is a previously convicted felon, Harrison also is “charged with illegally possessing a firearm, in this case a loaded Smith and Wesson 9mm pistol,” Williams said.

“As alleged, this defendant waved a loaded gun in the faces of Rite-Aid employees simply doing their jobs and got away with $600,” she added. “Law enforcement experts have said that the majority of violent crimes committed in and around Philadelphia are perpetrated by a small number of brazen criminals.” Williams noted the case is part of “Project Safe Neighborhoods,” a federal program intended to reduce violent crime and make neighborhoods safer.

Harrison “recklessly brandished a firearm during this brazen armed robbery, placing everyone in the community in danger,” Matthew Varisco, special agent-in-charge at the Philadelphia Field Division office of the federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF), asserted.

If convicted, Harrison faces a maximum possible sentence of life imprisonment, 5 years of supervised release, a $750,000 fine, and a $300 special assessment.

The case was investigated by the ATF and the Philadelphia Police Department. It will be prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Robert E. Eckert.

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