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Pill Thieves Might Be Mining Victims From Obituaries

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MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — A grieving widow thinks her husband’s obituary made her a target for prescription pill thieves.

Hit at her lowest point, she wants other potential victims to be aware.

“He was only 51 years old when he died, and he was an athlete and physically fit,” says the victim, who didn’t want to be named.

She knew people would be surprised he died of cancer, but she’s now even more surprised at how criminals are trying to get the painkillers of cancer patients.

“I got a call a short time after the obituary ran from a man who said he was from the Hennepin County Drug Disposal Program. He said he could pick them up from my home,” the victim said.

She says she felt relived an errand could be off her plate, but when the man showed up he didn’t have identification.

“He claimed to be a medical student and said they had just started working with the county, and they didn’t have any identification yet,” the victim said.

She then tried to contact Hennepin County, but the offices were closed.

“I started thinking: Is there something funny about this?” the victim said.

Ditching the narcotics, she only gave him blood pressure pills.

The man took off, and later the widow learned the so-called program was a fake.

“They’re stooping to really take advantage of a person when they’re down,” the victim said.

She just hopes this painful situation will keep other painkillers from hitting the streets.

The Hennepin County Sheriff’s Office is investigating the case.

Officials say that those with narcotics need to lock  them up. They’ve taken reports about babysitters, workmen and even realtors have contacted them after showing homes.

The county also says they will never come to your home to pick up the pills. There are medicine drop boxes all over the Twin Cities where you can drop them yourself.

They can be found at police stations, libraries and courthouses. A few are listed below in information provided by Hennepin County officials.

Hennepin County Medicine Drop Boxes

The Hennepin County Sheriff’s Office offers medicine drop boxes have been added at six locations. They are located in Sheriff’s Office buildings and also suburban courthouses.

– Brooklyn Center – Hennepin County District Court Brookdale
6125 Shingle Creek Pkwy., Brooklyn Center MN 55430
Hours: Mon. – Thurs.: 10 a.m. – 9 p.m.; Fri. – Sat.: 10 a.m. – 5 p.m.,
Sunday: Noon – 5 p.m.

– Brooklyn Park – Hennepin County Sheriff Patrol Headquarters
9401 83rd Ave. N., Brooklyn Park MN 55445
Hours: Mon. – Fri.: 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.

– Edina – Hennepin County Library – Southdale
7009 York Ave. S., Edina MN 55435
Hours: Mon. – Thurs.: 10 a.m. – 9 p.m., Fri. – Sat.: 10 a.m. – 5 p.m., Sunday: Noon – 5 p.m.

– Minneapolis – Hennepin County Public Safety Facility
401 Fourth Ave. S., Minneapolis MN 55415
Hours: 24 hours a day/seven days of week

– Minnetonka – Hennepin County District Court Ridgedale
12601 Ridgedale Drive, Minnetonka MN 55305
Hours: Mon. – Thurs.: 10 a.m. – 9 p.m., Fri. – Sat.:10 a.m. – 5 p.m., Sunday: Noon – 5 p.m.

– Spring Park – Hennepin County Sheriff’s Water Patrol
4141 Shoreline Drive, Spring Park MN 55384
Hours: Mon. – Fri.: 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.

Materials accepted
— Prescription medicines, including controlled substances
— Over-the-counter medicines
— Vitamins and supplements
— Pet medicines

Not accepted
— No needles, sharps or syringes
— No medicines from businesses

Guidelines
— The green medicine drop boxes are located in the lobby at each location.
— No ID required.
— The service is free.
— Bring medicines in their original containers.
— The boxes are self-serve. Pull the handle to open and drop the medicine into the box.

For more information, visit www.hennepin.us/medicine

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