Police: Suspect claims he was asleep during robbery

by: Jeff Smith Updated:


GASTON COUNTY, N.C. - A local man turned himself in to police and told detectives he doesn't remember walking into a pharmacy and stealing two bottles of oxycodone pills.

Belmont Police said Michael Richardson of Mt. Holly walked into police headquarters on Tuesday and confessed, saying he was under the influence of Ambien and didn't remember committing the crime.

Police said Richardson walked into a Belmont Walgreens on July 27 and demandedoxycodone pills. He didn't show a weapon, but police said Richardson told the pharmacist he'd get the pills by any means necessary.

He walked away with two bottles of the narcotics, worth nearly $300.

Richardson told detectives he had taken Ambien and didn't how he got the pills when he turned himself in. He said he took Ambien, and when he woke up he was in his car with the stolen drugs.

"It all sounds suspicious to me," said resident Valerie Davis.

Eyewitness News researched dozens of crimes people blamed on the sleep aid Ambien.

The National Institutes of Health said some Ambien users "got out of bed and drove their cars, prepared and ate food…or were involved in other activities while not fully awake."

Just a few weeks ago, Kerry Kennedy, a relative of the former president, crashed her car in New York and said she was under the influence of Ambien.

But some local Ambien users don't buy Richardson's story.

"Ambien just has a strong sedative effect, and that's it," said Bill Lutz. "It knocks you cold. I just don't think that Ambien is the source of that kind of aggression."

Belmont Police said, "Richardson was very apologetic, he said he was glad no one got hurt. As for the drugs, he said he threw them away."

That has some residents scratching their heads.

"It just makes you wonder if he did it or if he's covering for somebody else or what the real story is," said Davis.

Richardson's brother told Eyewitness News he didn't want to comment.

Richardson is still in jail, charged with robbery. He does not have a criminal record in Gaston County. He's scheduled to be in court in three weeks.