NYPD Aims To Foil Pharmacy Robberies With GPS-Tracking Pill Bottles

By Nick Venable | Published

Pills pouring from a medication bottle

I’m not going to sit here and lie to you, readers, even though I’m completely unprovoked and no one really asked. I’ve taken my share of prescription medications, and with only a few trips to the dentist and doctor under my belt, the means in which I’d acquired them was rarely legitimate. But I never stole any. Except for the ones I skimmed off my dad, rest his soul. And I’d have to assume at least one of the people I bought them from had stolen them in the first place. So maybe it could be considered theft. But I never got caught red-handed! Except for when one of the side effects made my hands turn red.

The New York Police Department, as a way of combating a rash of violent pharmacy robberies in the last year, has implemented the use of decoy pill bottles embedded with GPS tracking chips. The bottles, which are weighted and designed to rattle when shaken, immediately emit their tracking signal once they’re removed from a special base. It’s hoped the thieves will not inventory their stash immediately, which would allow police officers the time to pinpoint a location and plan their approach. The default plan is probably just to point a gun at the person and yell, “Give me back those fucking pills!”

The bottles themselves were created by Purdue Pharma, the company whose OxyContin pills’ highly addictive qualities have led to most pharmacy robberies to begin with. Some of the GPS-tracker bottles are already in different parts of the United States, monitored by a different company, though NYPD would be assuming all monitoring duties for their own area.

I know there’s a certain amount of pride to using a unique product like this, but it’s been my experience that telling thieves that you’ve set a trap for them usually dissuades them from the thieving in the first place. It’s the reason you don’t loudly tell people you keep bags of cash in the basement since they were taking up too much room in the closet. Granted, this may incidentally thwart robberies in the New York area, but there’s nothing stopping the gun-toting addicts from going across the bay and shooting up a Jersey pharmacy. That could just be my pessimism saying that. Maybe I should contact Big Pharma and see what they’d prescribe.