Traverse City Record-Eagle

February 7, 2013

Police arrest robbery suspect

TC man charged with April heist of Walgreens pharmacy


TRAVERSE CITY — Discarded pantyhose, DNA tests, a dog, video and witness accounts all combined to help authorities arrest a suspect in a April 2012 robbery at a Walgreens pharmacy.

Grand Traverse Sheriff's Department Capt. Dave Meachum said detectives charged Joshua Bradlee Jarosz, 28, of Traverse City, this week in the April 24, 2012 heist at the pharmacy on U.S. 31 South.

A combination of clues, including DNA testing on pantyhose found near the crime scene, allowed law enforcement to crack the caper, Meachum said.

"He was wearing pantyhose over his face (during the robbery)," Meachum said. "DNA from the pantyhose and I believe a hat, too," prompted Jarosz's arrest.

The robbery unfolded just after 3 p.m. A man wearing unusual garb darted into Walgreens and ordered a clerk to open a register.

"He just walked in, walked behind the counter and sort of pushed the gal out of the way," Meachum said.

The suspect fled with cash. A check of video surveillance showed the suspect wore a baseball cap and traffic vest.

"It was like an orange and green vest you would wear to direct traffic," Meachum said.

A search by deputies and a police tracking dog led to a stash of clothing near the store. The items included a baseball cap, traffic vest and pantyhose.

Authorities released video surveillance of the crime, prompting phone calls from the public. Tipsters led police to identify Jarosz as a suspect. Acquaintances told detectives Jarosz occasionally couch-surfed at their residence near Walgreens. On the day of the crime the usually cash-strapped Jarosz sudden had money in hand.

"(They said) he was highly agitated, took a shower and he's got money," Meachum said.

Police obtained a warrant to secure a DNA sample from Jarosz. The sample from Jarosz and clothing from the crime scene were sent for DNA testing and eventually proved a match.

Jarosz is charged with felony unarmed robbery and resisting/obstructing an officer. The latter charge, Meachum said, was from an incident that unfolded as detectives obtained the DNA sample from him.

"He decided he was not going to give back our search warrant," Meachum said.

Meachum said the robbery was not related to a string of other robberies in Traverse City last year, including a robbery at another Walgreens on South Airport Road.