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Billings Man Sentenced for Trying to Rob Pharmacy

A 59-year-old man who threatened to kill people in a Billings grocery store while trying to rob a pharmacy has been given an eight-year suspended sentence with the Department of Corrections.

District Judge Susan Watters sentenced Philip Alexander Arvanites on Thursday for trying to rob an IGA pharmacy in August. Watters said the sentence will remain suspended as long as Arvanites continues mental health and chemical dependency treatment. He will have to register as a violent offender for 10 years.

Arvanites was arrested on Aug. 8 as he tried to leave the IGA store. Police were called when employees of First Pharmacy said Arvanites handed a pharmacist a note demanding cash and prescription drugs. The note included a death threat.

Court records say Arvanites told officers he wanted the pills to commit suicide.

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