Customer foils pharmacy robbery at Sarasota CVS

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SARASOTA, Fla. - A customer at a Sarasota CVS tackled a suspected robber Sunday, leading to an arrest.  And it was all caught on video.

It happened at the CVS store on Fruitville Road at Tuttle Avenue on Sunday afternoon.

According to the Sarasota Police Department, 65-year-old Freddie Johnson of Sarasota walked to the pharmacy desk, implied that he had a gun in his pocket, and demanded Oxycodone and Hydromorphone pills.

Pharmacy staff produced the pills, and while they were getting a bag for the pills, a witness in the store grabbed Johnson from behind and tackled him.

Police have identified Jaanus Jurisco as the man who assisted in the arrest.


"I'm walking in and I see this gentleman enter with jeans, leather jacket, hat on and it looked pretty suspicious if you asked me," says Jurisoo. "I walk in and say ‘what is going on?’ And he is pointing at me and saying ‘you shut up, too.’ And then he is pretty much running to the back."

Jurisoo told the clerk to call police and followed Johnson to the pharmacy. "From the time I turn around from the corner, I see he is yelling at the girls over there demanding pills and he never looks over his shoulder, so I guess a bad day for him."

Jurisoo says he could not stand by without trying to help, so he walks up and takes Johnson down. "I knew what I'm doing. I wanted to get control of his hand and his neck. I grabbed the hand when he did not point it at anybody at this moment. I didn't want to put anybody else in risk neither."

Sarasota Police Chief Bernadette DiPino agrees that Jurisoo is a hero. "To be able to stop a serious offender from robbing a store, keeping our community safe, again, putting himself into jeopardy, to me that is person is a hero and I have got to commend him for his actions; but not encourage other people to do this because it is dangerous."

The staff at CVS ended up giving Jurisoo a free bottle of water, saying it was the least they could do.

It was later determined that Johnson did not have a gun.  He was arrested and charged with armed robbery.  He is also facing an armed robbery charge for the February 27th robbery at Hedges Pharmacy.

Freddie Johnson

Chief DiPino says they will give Jurisoo a commendation for his actions and would even consider hiring him for a job as a police officer.