Bluefield Daily Telegraph, Bluefield, WV

Local News

September 19, 2013

Door-to-door scammers looking for prescription drug information

TAZEWELL, Va. — Investigators with the Tazewell County Sheriff’s Office are warning the public to be aware of individuals asking about which households have people who are taking pain medications.

The sheriff’s office has had complaints from people in the Baptist Valley, Richlands and Claypool Hill areas, said Major Harold Heatley.

“It’s a male and a female driving a small white car,” Heatley said. “They’re saying they’re with the Appalachian Agency for Seniors Citizens. And what they’re doing is that they’re going up to and knocking on random doors, and asking, ‘Do you know of any seniors in the area who are in need of assistance and taking pain medication?’”

The individuals do not have any affiliation with the Appalachian Agency for Senior Citizens, Heatley said.

“What we believe they’re trying to do is find seniors with medication, and either break into their homes and rob them,” he said.

The sheriff’s office began receiving reports about the individuals during the past week, said Sgt. Mike Brown. The calls received Wednesday marked the first time they claimed to be from a specific agency.

“We’re not singling out any agency,” Brown said. “In the complaints prior to today, they said they were from churches and things like that.”

The first complainant told investigators the couple had approached her and asked about her mother, and then tried to get information about any local seniors they could assist, he said.

“They never came out and directly said, ‘I work for this agency,’” Brown stated.

The sheriff’s office receives numerous complaints about stolen pain medication. In some burglaries, medication was the only thing that was stolen. Suspects take the pills both for personal use and to sell.

“They pass up a $400 television to steal a bottle of Lortab,” Brown said.

So far, investigators have been working with limited information. They did not have a description of the male or female individuals, and have been told the couple has used a red and a white car.

Anyone with information about the case can call the Tazewell County 911 and leave a message for Brown at 276-988-0902.

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