NORRISTOWN — A Philadelphia man is serving more than a decade in prison for his role in a robbery at a pharmacy in Cheltenham.
Torrey Lee Thompson, 52, of the 5600 block of Appletree Street, was sentenced in Montgomery County Court to 12.5 to 25 years in a state prison on charges of robbery, conspiracy to commit robbery, theft by wrongful confiscation and criminal use of a communications facility in connection with the October 2019 robbery at the CVS pharmacy at 45 Cheltenham Ave.
Judge Thomas P. Rogers, who presided over the trial in which a jury convicted Thompson, imposed the sentence.
Thompson was one of two men convicted by a jury on identical charges during a four-day trial in June. Thompson’s co-defendant, Dante Salley, 35, of Virginia Beach, Virginia, will be sentenced to a hearing later this year.
Assistant District Attorney Scott Frank Frame and co-prosecutor Douglas Lavenberg handled the case.
Citing the trauma suffered by the victims during the robbery, Frame vowed to demand substantial jail terms against the men.
Frame previously said the two victims, who worked as cashiers at the CVS, were affected to such an extent “that they will never again be able to work a job without fear of serious bodily injury or death.”
Defense Attorney John I. McMahon Jr. represented Thompson. Salley was represented at the trial by attorney Eric Donato.
At trial, McMahon and Donato argued that there was insufficient evidence to link the men to the robbery.
The investigation began at about 8:53 p.m. on October 25, 2019, when Cheltenham Police responded to the pharmacy for a report of an armed robbery. A female clerk told detectives that two suspects entered the store shortly before closing and a man, Thompson, approached her and “signed like he had a gun” and ordered the clerk and a colleague to move into the office area, according to the indictment. .
The clerk was forced to open a safe, and Salley “removed what appeared to be a light-colored cloth bag or pillowcase from his pocket” and put money from the safe inside the bag, according to the arrest affidavit.
After the approximately $3,304 safe was emptied, the two robbers fled the store on foot, detectives claimed. Unbeknownst to the robbers, a GPS tracking device was hidden with the money and was immediately activated, according to court documents.
The last address provided by the tracker was at the 5600 block of Appletree Street in West Philadelphia, the location of Thompson’s residence, according to the arrest affidavit. Investigators discovered a Mercury Mountaineer vehicle parked on the street in which they saw items of clothing “matching the items the suspects saw and wore during the CVS robbery,” the indictment said.
The Mercury vehicle also matched the description of a vehicle depicted on video surveillance footage obtained from the area near the pharmacy around the time of the robbery, prosecutors said.
Authorities claimed that two fingerprints taken from the driver-side passenger door of the Mercury Mountaineer were linked to Salley and another latent fingerprint was linked to Thompson.
According to the indictment, detectives also used cell tower data to link cell phones belonging to Thompson and Salley to the fact that they were in the vicinity of the CVS at the time of the robbery. Thompson and Salley communicated via telephones shortly before the robbery, authorities said.
The robbery was investigated by Cheltenham detective Matthew Gonglik.