An Indiana man will serve a 16-year prison term for his role in robbing an East Peoria drug store of prescription opioid pills at gunpoint last July.

Valentino Smith, 26, told police he and an accomplice, who escaped, were part of a “robbery crew” that strikes CVS and Walgreens stores for drugs in Indiana, Illinois and South Carolina.

Smith, of Indianapolis, pleaded guilty Monday to armed robbery after an aggravated kidnapping charge related to that crime was dismissed. 

The two men walked into the Walgreens at 300 N. Main St. shortly before 5 a.m. last July 7, and Smith asked its front counter clerk if he could use the bathroom. The clerk called another employee to lead him there and unlock it.

At the door Smith ordered him to go inside, then bound his hands with a zip tie and left him. He returned to the counter, pulled a handgun from his belt and ordered the clerk back to the bathroom, where he also bound and left her, court records stated.

The other man had walked to the store’s pharmacy, jumped over its counter and ordered a woman there to unlock its safe, stating he wanted oxycontin, percocet and hydrocodone. As he was filling a bag with pill containers, the employee whispered to two customers who came to the counter to call the police.

The robbers fled, apparently with the pills, but for reasons unknown became separated. Acting on a report that a man was seen running north on Main, an officer found Smith at a fast food shop about a mile north of Walgreens. 

The officer held him at gunpoint until others arrived. They found his gun loaded with a round in its chamber, court records stated.

Smith had no prior felony record but was on pre-trial release on a drug-related charge in Indiana.