Morsette 'hearing voices' before robbery
Charged with 10 felonies, Wednesday arraignment rescheduled
August 7, 2014
A Havre woman accused of robbing a pharmacy at gunpoint — with a stolen BB gun — and selling the prescription drugs at a Havre hotel told investigating officers she had been “hearing voices” in the time before the incident.
Arlene Morsette, born in 1984, was scheduled for arraignment on 10 felony charges Wednesday in state District Court in Havre, but that hearing was delayed and was rescheduled for 8:30 Friday morning.
She is accused of stealing more than 6,000 prescription painkillers and about $400 in cash July 21 from Western Drug Pharmacy, then picking up her 4-month-old daughter and keeping the infant with her while selling the drugs from a hotel room in Havre.
A court document says the value of the pills was $4,015 and had an estimated street sale value of $50,000.
The Hill County attorney charged Morsette with robbery, assault with a weapon, two counts of tampering with evidence, theft, four counts of possession of drugs with intent to distribute and with criminal child endangerment, all felonies.
After she was arrested July 22, Morsette told investigating officers who interviewed her that she had had a “bad month.” She told the officer that she had been “hearing voices which have gotten worse over the past few years,” the document says.
She told the officers that at some point during the Great Northern Fair, between July 18 and July 20, she stole about $70 worth of gasoline from a local filling station and convenience store “to see if she could get away with it like the voices said,” the document says.
On July 20, she stole some items from Walmart “to see if she could get away with that as well,” she told the officer. Those items included a silver BB gun pistol and a can of black paint, she said.
She said that on the day of the robbery, she planned to drop off some paperwork in the Social Security office in the same building as Western Drug, the document says, but the office was closed. After giving it some thought, the document says, she decided to rob the pharmacy “to provide for her kids,” she told the officers.
She said she then painted the BB gun with the black spray paint, the document says, and drove to the east side of the block, parked the minivan she was driving and walked through the alley to the west side of the block to go into the building.
She said she zipped up her sweatshirt, put on sunglasses and put a bandana over her face when she got out of the van, the document says. When she entered the pharmacy, she told the person behind the counter to get off the phone and then told her to fill up the green duffle bag she took into the pharmacy with Percocet, hydrocodone, Xanax and Ambien, she told the officers.
She then ran back to her van and left, she said.
After she left, a witness followed a minivan the witness thought was driven by her, which was then pulled over by the police on the 500 Block of 7th Avenue, but it was not the correct van and the driver was released.
Morsette said she then threw away her clothes, the gun and the packaging materials of the pills, which she put into plastic bags, into garbage cans in Highland Park, the document says.
It says she told the officers that she contacted Ryan Greenough, who was born in 1983, and gave him some hydrocodone and told him she had robbed the pharmacy. Greenough is serving a suspended sentence on a drug conviction.
No charges or request to revoke release had been filed against Greenough as of this morning.
The document says that Havre police officers were told July 22 that Greenough was selling prescription pills out of a room at the Havre Budget Inn. A Tri-Agency Safe Trails Task Force Agent was told by an employee of the hotel that Greenough had rented the room they were asking about. He checked in about 2 that morning and had rented the room for two nights. The clerk told the agent that a woman and small child were staying with him in the room.
The document says the agent saw Morsette enter the room and that he knew, based on task force investigations, that she previously had been involved in selling prescription drugs .
Greenough’s probation officer was contacted and he, along with the investigating officers, conducted a probation search of Greenough’s hotel room, the document says.
The officers found Greenough, Morsette and her 4-month-old child in the room, the document says. The officers found numerous bags in the room containing prescription medication similar to what had been stolen from Western Drug, the document says.
Greenough told an officer who interviewed him outside of the hotel room that Morsette contacted him after the robbery and gave him a large amount of cash to use in renting the room. He said she hid a large amount of pills in gallon-sized plastic bags inside the ceiling tiles of the room and also hid small bags of pills throughout the room, the document says.
Officers obtained and executed a search warrant on the room and found numerous baggies containing prescription medication, $125 cash and two cellphones, the document says.
The officers found in the room 4,944.5 prescription pills of the types that were stolen from the pharmacy, the document says.