A man recently tried to rob a HealthSource Pharmacy in the Upper East Side of New York, demanding cash and OxyContin. The Pharmacy staff gave him a little something extra, too. The bottle of OxyContin that they’d given him was actually a dummy equipped with a GPS tracker, which allowed the NYPD to quickly track him down. Once the police got to him 30 blocks away, a fire fight began. Police were then forced to shoot 45 year old Scott Kato dead.
The “bait bottles,” as they’re referred to, are made Purdue Pharma, an OxyContin manufacturer. Though they don’t contain any pills–just the GPS device embedded in the cap–they do rattle when shaken to give the illusion that they’re the genuine articles. Each of these bait bottles sits on top of a special base. When they’re taken off of them, they begin to emit a tracking signal.
According to a Purdue Pharma spokesperson, there have so far been 111 suspects across 33 states have been arrested thanks to the devices.
The NYPD has been using these bait bottles for the past year in an attempt to combat the rising tide of drugstore robberies. OxyContin is a big seller on the streets, with pills going for up to $80 each.
Though the NYPD wasn’t the first police force in the state to begin using the bait bottles, they were the first to publicize their usage in an attempt to deter would-be robbers. Other police forces choose not to disclose the use of the decoy pill bottles, fearing that if prospective robbers knew of their existence, the risk to pharmacy staff would increase.
Despite being used for some time now, this is reportedly the first time the decoys were used successfully.
“We have been working with the N.Y.P.D. to implement the bottle-tracking program throughout New York City,” said Purdue Spokesperson James W. Heins. “We are reluctant to comment on an active police investigation until the authorities have released additional information.”