NEWTON (CBS) – Good timing helped stop an armed robbery at a CVS in Newton.

“Right place, right time” is how describes his visit to the CVS on Route 9 near Elliot Street on Friday morning.

Trooper John MacKinnon stopped in to buy a bottle of water and wound up running into a man with a box-cutter who was robbing the pharmacy.

“I stopped in to get a bottled water and honestly, I would have been on my way out if not for a young lady who stopped me and said there’s a strange or suspicious man at the drug counter. So, I walked back in and there he was behind the drug counter,” Trooper MacKinnon said.

WBZ-TV’s Bill Shields reports

Trooper MacKinnon got to the back of the store and saw the man, later identified as Stephen Garland, behind the counter. An employee told the Trooper that the man had a knife.

knife State Trooper Walks In On Armed Robbery In Newton

The boxcutter knife used in an attempted robbery at CVS in Newton.

“He was loading up a plastic bag with a bunch of painkiller meds,” Trooper MacKinnon said. “I pulled my handgun and told him to get his hands up and drop the knife. He hopped the counter and the chase was on.”

MacKinnon put his gun away, grabbed his pepper spray can, chased down Garland in the parking lot outside, and blasted him with the pepper spray.

“I loaded him up pretty good,” said MacKinnon.

WBZ NewsRadio 1030’s Rod Fritz reports

Garland was admitted to St. Elizabeth’s Hospital in Brighton for observation.

He was supposed to be arraigned Friday afternoon, but police say that arraignment was postponed until after he is released from the hospital.

Police also recovered a stolen Toyota Venza in the parking lot that they Garland had used in the alleged robbery attempt.

When Garland was being brought in to the Brighton barracks, he told reporters, “I’ve been framed, I’m innocent.”

The trooper wanted water, the suspect wanted drugs. The trooper won.

 WBZ-TV’s Bill Shields contributed to this report.

Comments (9)
  1. stella says:

    Thank you Trooper McKinnon! See? There are some fantastic Troopers out there!!

  2. Italo says:

    This is true, stella. In a lot of ways, folks like the police and firefighters are actually never off the clock. Good story.

  3. Robert the Bruce says:

    Iam proud of my son Jon, God bless him!
    Good job, well done!
    Your Dad
    Robert B. Mac Kinnon

    1. Jane says:

      There is a reason your son is the man he is today! Well done dad….and Troop MacKinnon as well!

    2. stevesaleeba says:

      Based on the initial news release from State Police, we spelled your son’s last name incorrectly. It has since been corrected. We are sorry about the error. Thanks for commenting!

  4. PJS says:

    great job, “Trooper MacKinnon”–now lets hope you get “free” for a while, as i would gladly give you any size for that matter. :-)


  5. Mia says:

    Great Job Trooper MacKinnon about time these guys get caught maybe if we need more like you around.

  6. Kevin Haley says:

    Nice Job Trooper MacKinnon you acted swift and professional and saved some lives I bet nice job well Done.

  7. Gina says:

    THANK YOU Trooper MacKinnon- a much needed reassurance that our city is protected by authorities like yourself. Great job- Many thanks!!

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