Pharmacy bandit to face additional gun charge

One of the men charged in 16 armed robberies of Northeast Philadelphia pharmacies allegedly falsified paperwork in an attempt to buy a gun two months ago, and the District Attorney's Office on Thursday said he'll be charged in that crime as well.

Edward Schaeffer, 29, was arrested along with William Webb, 50, Monday night after police said the pair robbed a Rite Aid pharmacy in Rhawnhurst and were tracked back to a house in Tacony via a GPS device in one of the pill bottles they stole.

According to the D.A.’s Office, Schaeffer tried to buy a 9mm handgun on Sept. 14 and lied on the paperwork about his prior record and his status as a fugitive. He was arrested on an outstanding warrant that day at the gun store after the clerk ran his application through a state system and denied him the sale, a spokeswoman for the D.A. said.

When he was arrested there, officials said, Schaeffer had several prescription pills in his pocket and was charged with drug possession. Court records show that he was released on his own recognizance the next day.

On Wednesday, both Schaeffer and Webb were arraigned on charges including aggravated assault, violation of the Uniform Firearms Act, robbery, possession of drugs with intent to distribute and related offenses for their alleged pharmacy robbery spree throughout the Northeast from December until earlier this week.

Both are set to appear in court on the robbery charges Wednesday. Schaeffer has another court date for the September drug charges a week later.