A 27-year-old Armidale man was in a coma in hospital yesterday afternoon after an armed robbery in which 1 litre of methadone was stolen from a chemist.
Police will allege that they found about 600ml of the drug was recovered from his backpack following the raid on the Priceline pharmacy in Beardy Street Mall earlier in the day.
Police arrested the man at a home in North Street at about 11am after viewing surveillance camera footage.
Detective Inspector Roger Best, of Armidale Police, said at about 9am a man armed with a small pistol and a knife and wearing a black balaclava with cut-out eye holes entered the rear entrance of the Priceline Pharmacy in the western end of the mall and demanded all the methadone on the premises.
He was given about 1 litre of the substance.
"Police viewed CCTV footage and identified a suspect. Police then set up surveillance at the house,” Det Insp Best said.
Eyewitnesses told later how officers confronted the man in his front garden.
An ambulance was called and the man was taken to Armidale Hospital.
Det Insp Best said the man, who was in a drug-induced coma, will be charged with several offences when he recovers.
It is expected he will be charged with one count of armed robbery and possession of a commercial quantity of a prohibited drug.