Club News

Osco #404: South Bend Tragedy Remembered

This year marks the twenty-fifth anniversary of an armed robbery that took place at Osco Drug #404 in South Bend, Indiana on an early Saturday morning on August 25, 1990.  Three Osco employees were slain during the robbery.  We  remember our work colleagues who lost their lives on that terrible day - assistant manager Scott Dick, 29; pharmacist Tracy Holvoet, 24; and part-time clerk Connie Zalewski, 43.

Saturday, August 25, 1990:  The day began as an ordinary day across our company. Our managers began to arrive at their stores, usually an hour and a half prior to opening.  Employees would then arrive shortly afterwards and prepare for the busy weekend… pulling the prior week’s ad, setting the upcoming ad, getting a head start on filling prescriptions phoned in the night before, etc.  The day began at Osco #404 in South Bend, Indiana on 4401 West Western Avenue in a typical manner.  Assistant manager Scott Dick unlocked the door and deactivated the alarm just after 7:30am. Shortly before 8:00am, pharmacist Tracy Holvoet and clerk Connie Zalewski arrived at the store to begin their workdays.  They walked in on an armed robbery in progress.   By 8:10am, the store was robbed of $6,421 in cash and three employees had been brutally executed. The heinous murders and senseless loss of life which took place that day stunned the South Bend community, was the worst tragedy our company ever experienced, shattered three families and robbed Scott, Tracy and Connie of their lives and futures.  All died instantly from gunshot wounds. Tracy and Connie each died of single gunshots to the head. Scott died as a result of a gunshot to the head and two gunshots to the back.   There were no signs of a struggle. The bodies of Connie and Tracy were found beside the pharmacy counter. Scott’s body was discovered in the break room.    The gunman escaped through an emergency backroom exit which triggered a loud alarm. 

404 Diagram

There were no witnesses to the crime; no one reported hearing gunshots. Customers and other employees soon arrived at the store only to find the front door was locked.  Several 911 calls were made and South Bend police were on the scene within minutes.  The store was cordoned off and the investigation began.  Evidence obtained in the days that followed led authorities to believe this was not a random crime.  It was well planned and it was personal. 

 

They believed specific employees were not targeted - the victims could have been among any of the store’s 45 employees who happened to have been scheduled to work that morning.  Evidence showed the crime was perpetrated by someone who knew the store’s operations and chose the most opportune time of the week and moment of the day to strike. 

 

The ruthlessness of the crime demonstrated the gunman held a violent grudge.  Security was increased at the other three Osco stores in South Bend and at another three Osco stores in nearby Mishawaka.  Random and threatening crank phone calls were received at some stores.  The three funerals were held the following week.  Grief counseling sessions were organized for employees affected.  Osco #404 remained closed for eleven days.  Time passed and there were no suspects, no arrests. A $100,000 reward was offered by the company for information leading to a conviction.  No concrete tips.  The days became weeks, then months.  The long and unusual history of the case had stirred up local politics and speculation. 

Years passed before an arrest was made.  And in 1999, the store’s former general manager, Christopher Allen was indicted.  A trial in 2001 ended with a deadlocked jury.  A second trial took place in 2002 - a conviction.  But in 2004, on appeal, the guilty verdict was overturned because of a technical error during the trial.  A third two-week trial took place in July 2006 and yet again another hung jury - a mistrial.  In all three trials, the juries deliberated for more than 12 hours.  Ultimately, by December 2006, the county decided not to pursue a fourth prosecution.  To this day, there has been no resolution. 

 

Related Stories:

Scott A. Dick

Tracy L. Holvoet

Connie E. Zalewski

 

Other Articles:

2015: Remembering Scott, Tracy and Connie

2015: Christopher Allen

2004: Appeal of Christopher Allen’s Conviction

1990 – 1996: Media Coverage

1991: Full Page Notice Placed by Families of the Victims

1990: An Open Letter from #404 Store Employees

1990: September Memorial Service

 

2015 Commentaries: (please log-in to access)