By Elizabeth Hur
CHESTER, Pa., (CBS) — A murder mystery solved. With three more arrests and additional answers, authorities now allege the shooting death of a Rite Aid store manager in Chester was an inside job.
Delaware County District Attorney Jack Whelan explained, “We were able to piece this together like a jig saw puzzle. He had knowledge of how much would be in the safe because of his duty as loss prevention officer and quite frankly on that particular night, there was significant amount of cash in that safe. He believed it to be $5,000 and he wasn’t that far off.”
He, according to prosecutors, is 23-year-old Tariq Mahmud. Mahmud, along with 23-year-old Christopher Parks and 19-year-old Ashaniere White were arrested in South Philadelphia on Wednesday. Last month, police arrested 24-year-old David Wiggins and 23-year-old Rita Pultro (See Related Story).
Police say the five are friends from Philadelphia.
“In my estimation and through our investigation, they did not expect Jason McClay to be there that evening,” Whelan noted at a news conference Wednesday evening.
In fact, authorities confirm McClay, a Navy veteran, was filling in for another manager on September 19th when Wiggins and Pultro entered the store (see related story). Police say robbery may have been the motive, but they have evidence to prove and charge all five with murder.
“We can show the connection, all through their text messaging, as to how this robbery was planned, how it went down, even after the fact, when they’re saying it went south,” Whelan went onto say, “When we started this investigation, we believed that there was going to be a link with someone in the city of Chester. But no resident of Chester is linked to this crime. This is coming down from the Grays Ferry section, travelling down 95, it wasn’t random, it was because Tariq worked at Rite Aid, that’s why they hit Rite Aid.”
Authorities believe with these latest arrests, they have all the players responsible now behind bars. All five, officials say, are being charged with Second and Third degree Murder, Robbery, and Conspiracy offenses.
Anyone with additional information pertaining to this case is asked to call Chester Detective Nelson Collins at 610-447-8431 or CID Detective Dave Tyler at 610-891-4708.