Woman arrested for armed robbery

By Joe P. Asher jasher@civitasmedia.com

June 9, 2014

A Smith woman is facing extradition to Tennessee on charges stemming from an armed robbery at a pharmacy. She was arrested at a vehicle checkpoint in the city of Harlan early Monday.

Holly Zinno, 24, was arrested by Harlan City Police Officer Britt Ross on multiple warrants.

Also, Sgt. Matt Cope served Zinno with two fugitive warrants out of Tennessee.

Harlan City Police Cpl. Jeff Owens said Zinno is wanted in Tennessee for robbing a pharmacy at gunpoint and car theft.

“Officers were doing a vehicle safety checkpoint on U.S. 421,” said Owens. “They noticed that a vehicle had turned off the side of the road and was attempting to elude the vehicle safety checkpoint.”

Owens said officers immediately moved to the vehicle and made contact with Zinno, who first gave officers a false name and a false Social Security number. However, one of the officers recognized Zinno, said Owens.

“The vehicle she was in was reported stolen out of Greene County, Tenn,” said Owens. “She had a warrant from Greene County for theft of property over $1,000, that being the vehicle in question.”

Owens said further investigation revealed Zinno was wanted in Hawkins County, Tenn., for five counts of aggravated assault and one count of aggravated robbery.

According to the Hawkins County affidavit of complaint, Brandy Smelcer stated she drove Zinno to the Bulls Gap Pharmacy and waited in the parking lot while Zinno robbed the pharmacy. Smelcer also stated in the complaint that she received an envelope from Zinno’s mother, Penny Madden, containing $900 for her part in the robbery.

Smelcer further stated in the complaint she provided Zinno with a handgun to use to commit the robbery. Smelcer turned the gun in to the Hawkins County Sheriff’s Office to be used for evidence, according to the complaint.

The Hawkins County complaint further stated Smelcer originally claimed to have been kidnapped at gunpoint and forced to drive the getaway car. She later recounted that story, according to police.

The Hawkins complaint states 268 20mg oxycodone pills, 404 30mg oxycodone pills and $1,290 in cash was taken during the robbery.

“We served that warrant on her as well. There were five people inside that pharmacy when the robbery occurred,” said Owens. “On top of that, Zinno had an active misdemeanor warrant out of Harlan County, she had an active misdemeanor warrant out of Fayette County, and she was also charged with several traffic charges.”

Zinno was charged in Tennessee with five counts of aggravated assault and one count of aggravated robbery.

Zinno was served with bench warrants from Harlan and Fayette counties for failure to appear in addition to the felony warrants out of Tennessee.

According to Owens, Zinno will be extradited to Tennessee.

Officer Will Pope assisted in the arrest.

Zinno was lodged in the Harlan County Detention Center.

Joe P. Asher may be reached at 606-573-4510, ext. 1161, or on Twitter #joe_hde