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Two years for pharmacy robbery spree

A pair of men from Maple Ridge received two-year sentences for a three-month-long crime spree in 2012 that targeted pharmacies across the Metro Vancouver.

Ryan Allan Olson and Luke Stuart Thom Ash pleaded guilty to several counts of robbery and one count each of theft last August, but were sentenced Jan. 2 to a provincial prison term of two years less a day.

Olson, 28, confessed to robbing five pharmacies in Maple Ridge, Port Moody, Langley, Surrey and Abbotsford between Aug. 21 and Oct. 12, 2012 to steal narcotics such as oxycodone, Tylenol 3s and morphine. He hit The Chemist drug store in Maple Ridge twice.

Ash, meanwhile, admitted to three robberies. According to a search warrant application, the men used fake guns to hold up the pharmacies and sometimes disguised their faces with surgical masks.

Ridge Meadows RCMP nabbed the pair after an extensive, cross-jurisdictional investigation that included surveillance.

Police also got a warrant for their cell phone records and found several incriminating text messages, boasting about the robberies.

After the robberies, Olson would also text out a list of drugs he had stolen to potential customers.

“Need to make rent next month,” said one text. “Let’s drive out to Richmond, Vancouver, North Van … whatever.”

In a second text, Ash tells Olson they are a “killer team.”

“The funny thing is it doesn’t even [faze] me doing that … it’s almost fun,” Ash typed in another.

Olson, a drug addict, joked in another text: “I’m trying to make my life better that’s why I’m hitting pharmacies.”

Ridge Meadows RCMP required the help of Surrey RCMP’s robbery unit, Langley RCMP’s General Investigation Section, as well as both Abbotsford and Port Moody police to build a case against Ash and Olson.

Olson will be going to prison while Ash is being allowed to serve his sentence in the community.

Both men also received 18 months probation.

Ash was a realtor in Maple Ridge for Royal LePage Brookside, but the Real Estate Council of British Columbia confirmed his license was suspended after he was charged.

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