The New York City Police Department is planning a classic bait and switch in an attempt to nab thieves seeking painkillers and other addictive prescription medicines. In this plan, the bait is the pill bottle but the switch comes when lo and behold, those aren’t the pills you’re looking for — and the bottle is outfitted with a GPS tracker.
According to the Associated Press, the NYPD is asking pharmacies to get on board with the plan and hide the fake bottles amidst the legitimate ones on their shelves. That way the “bait bottles” could lead officials to the people suspected of stealing and trafficking the drugs.
The big announcement is expected from Police Commissioner Raymond Kelly who’s speaking today at a conference on health issues hosted by former President Bill Clinton’s foundation.
Kelly’s prepared remarks cite the rise of high-profile crimes linked to the black market for prescription drugs, including a former NYPD officer who turned to robbing drug stores at gunpoint in order to get the painkillers he was hooked on.
“When pills become too expensive, addicts are known to resort to cheaper drugs such as heroin and cocaine. They turn to crime to support their habit,” says Kelly.
The NYPD will work with a newly-created database of about 6,000 pharmacies in the area in order to have officers visit them and discuss new security measures. They’ll also be planting the GPS bottles filled with fake oxycodone.
“In the event of a robbery or theft, we’ll be able to track the bottle, which may lead us to stash locations across the city,” Kelly added.
As long as someone who really needed that medicine doesn’t accidentally end up with it and a SWAT team at the door (“Hey, 911, I’m in pain and there are heavily armed cops at my door…?”), this could be a good plan.
NYPD looks to GPS bottles to combat pill bandits [Associated Press]