Special education teacher charged with robbing pharmacy at gunpoint

Image 1 of 2

Photo Courtesy: Washington County Jail

A 36-year-old South St. Paul Public Schools special education teacher is on paid administrative leave after allegedly robbing a Walgreens for prescription pills.

Melanie Sue Parkin of South St. Paul is charged with felony first-degree aggravated robbery and felony drug possession.

According to the Washington County criminal complaint, on Monday at 2:52 a.m., Woodbury police responded to the Walgreens in the 1900 block of Donegal Drive for a report of a robbery. Dispatch officials told officers a white woman, who appeared to be holding a handgun, stole three bottles of Percocet and left the store.

While an officer drove nearby the Walgreens, he noticed a white woman in an SUV who "looked at him nervously and quickly looked straight ahead." The vehicle appeared to be driving away from the Walgreens area. The officer noticed the vehicle's tabs were expired and he stopped the SUV.

The officer started speaking with the driver, Melanie Parkin, who told him she had come from the Walgreens. He noticed a "large bag of pills" on the driver's side of the car. Parkin then stepped out of the SUV and told the officer she "took the pills from Walgreens" and told him the gun was "only an airsoft gun."

In the bag, the officers found 1,413 Percocet pills in several pill bottles as well as scattered loosely throughout. Police also found a vial containing four pills of OxyContin in the Parkin's jean pocket. Officers also found a puffy jacket and sunglasses in the SUV, which matched the initial description of the robbery suspect.

In an interview with police, Parkin said she broke her spine four years ago and has been prescribed pain medication ever since, but she no longer has a current, valid prescription. She told police she is addicted to her pain pills and goes into withdrawals without them.

She told police once inside the store she walked straight to the pharmacy, pulled the airsoft gun out of her jacket and asked for Percocet. The pharmacist started pulling out five or six bottles of the pills, but Parkin said "That's too much." Parkin ultimately took three pills bottles and walked away.

Police asked Parkin about other similar incidents in the area, but she told them she wanted a lawyer before speaking further.

A lawyer representing South St. Paul Public Schools told Fox 9 Parkin is on paid administrative leave and the district is investigation the allegations.