Beware of over-the-counter drugs sold online

By Jodi Mohrmann, Managing editor of special projects, jmohrmann@wjxt.com
Published On: Mar 21 2014 04:01:26 PM EDT
Updated On: Mar 24 2014 06:20:00 AM EDT

Pepcid, Tylenol, Advil all piled high in what looks like they belong in the stock room of your local drug store.  But in reality, they are over-the-counter drugs that were stolen in an elaborate shoplifting ring.

"Shop lifters will go into stores. They will steal the product. Ultimately they will sell it to a middle man," explained U.S. Postal Inspector David Arminio.

That person will then try to sell the product online. Sometimes, they are sold for 30-percent less than retail stores. But this is a crime that poses a real physical danger.

"A lot of these products have temperature requirements, they have to be stored within a certain degree, when they are stolen they are either stored in big warehouses, cars in hot weather," warned Arminio.

Postal inspectors say the criminals involved in these schemes are focused on money, not temperatures or expiration dates.

"If someone consumes a product that is possibly spoiled they can get sick and one of our main concerns was a lot of products in this scheme were baby formula," said Arminio.

Some advice: be wary of online deals with price tags far below typical market value.

"When it is that much cheaper than the store, you kind of have to wonder, 'Where is that product from?' No one has more buying power than the national retail chain," said Arminio.

Meantime. the suspects in this case were discovered from leads provided by some retail stores and then developed with undercover purchases made by postal inspectors.

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