DEER PARK, Wash. - Inside the Medicine Shoppe in Deer Park, pharmacy store manager Susan Beller knows all of her customers. Tuesday afternoon as she was filling prescriptions one customer walked in who Beller recognized all too well: Aaron Miller. A police sketch she kept on the counter of the pharmacy was the same man, detectives said, who robbed the store two times before.
"One of my technicians walked up to me and said we're being robbed, it's him, he's back," Beller said. Beller decided she would be the one to approach Miller, who then handed Beller a note. "The note said 'Gun. Give me all - and all was underlined - your Oxycodone and Methadone," Beller explained. "My heart was just going 'What, what should I do?"
After two robberies, the woman who had always helped patients, had finally lost her patience. Since the last incident, Beller bought pepper spray for the store. But this was not just any pepper spray, this was a large can of Counter Assault Bear Deterrent. In the Shoppe's surveillance video, you can see Beller returns to the counter and let's the bear deterrent rip, spraying Miller in the face for several seconds before chasing him out of the store.
"The deciding factor for me is, I know how far away law enforcement is here in Deer Park," Beller said. "I know that we are kinda going to have to take care of ourselves."
Sue Burton, another pharmacy technician who was working Tuesday, said "What Susan did was awesome."
Burton said her instincts kicked in too. In the surveillance video,you can see Burton also chased after Miller but in her hands was a baseball bat. (video above)
"Hopefully he gets what he deserves," Burton said. "I don't think he got what he deserved."
Afterwards, Beller said she felt extremely empowered.
Beller said Miller had been sprayed in the face so much that when he ran to his parent's home, his parents called paramedics and that's how authorities caught up to Miller.
In an interview with detectives, investigators said Miller confessed to two other robberies at the Medicine Shoppe that occurred on December 5 and December 30 of 2011. Detectives said on December 5, Miller displayed what appeared to be a weapon and demanded Oxycodone medication. On December30 and February 21, Miller provided notes to the pharmacy staff demanding Oxycodone and Methadone. Deputies said on all three occasions three incidents inferred he had a weapon.
Miller, 24, is currently booked in the Spokane County Jail on the charge of 1st Degree Robbery stemming from the robbery, and two additional charges of 2nd Degree Robbery. He made his first appearance in a Spokane County Superior Court on Wednesday.
KHQ called the jail to hear Miller's side of the story. He declined.