Man charged for alleged robbery of local pharmacy
WILLMAR -- James Howard Stellman, 49, of Grove City, made his first appearance Monday on four felony charges for allegedly robbing the Willmar Prescription Center of numerous types of pain medication and threatening a pharmacy employee late Friday afternoon.
The charges in Kandiyohi County District Court include first-degree aggravated robbery, terroristic threats, third-degree drug possession and theft.
Stellman made two appearances in court Monday. During the first hearing, Judge David Mennis set Stellman's unconditional bail at $50,000 and allowed conditional release on his personal recognizance.
However, the Kandiyohi County Attorney's office filed a motion for expedited review of Stellman's release conditions and another hearing was held Monday afternoon.
Mennis then modified the release conditions to include a $250,000 unconditional bail and $50,000 conditional release.
After hearing arguments from First Assistant County Attorney Connie Crowell and Tom Kramer, Stellman's attorney, the judge issued the modification. "I was not able to give (the file) adequate review," Mennis said, adding that he had given the court file much more review after the motion was filed.
Crowell had argued that the bail needed to be increased for the public's safety. "The charges here are extremely serious," she argued. "Short of homicide, they don't get much more serious."
Conversely, Kramer argued that the court had already visited the issue and that the complaint hadn't changed from the morning hearing. "The court has already visited this issue," he said.
Stellman's next appearance is Aug. 31.
According to the complaint, Willmar police received a report around 5:38 p.m. Friday that the Prescription Center had been robbed. An employee gave officers a description of the man and his vehicle and said he had taken pain pills and patches in a white-prescription style bag.
A Kandiyohi County sheriff's deputy stopped a car that matched the description shortly thereafter near the intersection of County Roads 8 and 23. The driver was identified as Stellman and was arrested. Officers later executed a search warrant on the vehicle and found a 9-mm handgun, hat, sunglasses and a white pharmacy bag containing bottles and boxes of Oxycodone or hydrocodone pills and Fentanyl patches.
The pharmacy employee told police that a tall, thin white male had entered the pharmacy when no one else was present. The man was wearing medical gauze over his nose, sunglasses and a large-brim canvas hat pulled down low. The man pulled up the front of his shirt to reveal a pistol and demanded pain medication including those marketed under the brand names of OxyContin, Fentanyl and Vicodin.
As the employee handed the robber the bag of drugs, the man allegedly threatened that if the employee called police within 10 minutes of his leaving, he would have his brother hunt the employee down and kill him.