Former South St. Paul teacher sentenced for Walgreens robberies

Melanie Parkin

A former teacher from South St. Paul was sentenced Feb. 6 in Dakota County District Court for robbing the same drug store two seperate times.

Melanie Sue Parkin, 37, was sentenced to three years in prison for two robberies that took place at a West St. Paul Walgreens store in 2016 and 2017. She was charged last February with two counts of first-degree aggravated robbery for which she pleaded guilty on Aug. 31.

Parkin, a former special education teacher in the South St. Paul School District, was put on leave by the district at the time of her arrest.

On Dec. 12, 2016, officers were dispatched to the West St. Paul Walgreens on a report of an armed robbery. The suspect, later identified as Parkin, had displayed a black handgun, robbed the pharmacy and then left on foot. 

A pharmacist at the store told police the robber pulled out a black handgun that he described as a semi-automatic — it was later determined to be an Airsoft gun. Parkin pointed the gun at him and stated she needed oxycodone for her sick father. The pharmacist gave Parkin a few bottles of oxycodone as well as a dummy pill bottle with a tracking device in it. 

Parkin robbed the same West St. Paul pharmacy in nearly the same way on Jan. 14, 2017.

The West St. Paul department was contacted Feb. 13, 2017, regarding a crime alert that had been issued regarding the suspect of other robberies. 

A Woodbury investigator informed the department they had arrested a woman that day at a Walgreens. The jacket and the gun used in the Woodbury robbery matched the ones Parkin had during the West St. Paul robberies.

In her statement, Parkin told police she had significant health issues and had been taking pills for years. She identified herself on the surveillance images from the December 2016 robbery. 

According to the criminal complaint against her, when asked about the January 2017, robbery, Parkin initially denied any involvement. She later admitted to doing it. 

Parkin was previously sentenced in Washington County District Court to 21 months in prison on Dec. 12, 2017 for two similar crimes committed in Washington County.


— Hannah Burlingame

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