NYPD Police have planted decoy pill bottles equipped with a GPS device around the different pharmacies in the city with hopes of nabbing the criminals robbing the drug stores for narcotic pills. A rash of pharmacy hold-ups prompted police to use this new tracking device in hopes of finding these criminals once they’ve gotten away from the robbery scene, according to the Gothamist on May 17.
This pill bottle GPS system was put to the test this week after a pharmacy was robbed on the Upper Eastside. Scott Kato, 45, who police believe robbed the same HealthSource Pharmacy five times since 2011 was tracked down using this system. The police consider Kato a serial robber.
The GPS system did its job as it led police to Kato. Cops came upon Kato at a service road near the FDR Drive on 96th Street about 2 p.m., just about 30 minutes after he robbed the pharmacy at 1:30 p.m. on Friday.
He was in his vehicle and was surrounded by police when he went to pull a gun. Witnesses said they heard about 10 shots fired on the service road where Kato was shot was near 96th street.
Kato was shot and killed by police. Authorities did find bottles of medications on him, he had various types of pain killers and erectile enhancement pills. They also found the cash he took from the pharmacy during the robbery.
Witnesses said that the guy apparently wasn’t thinking very clearly, pulling out a gun when he was surrounded by cops. This is when he was fatally shot by police. Oneil Dixon witnessed the shooting, he told the New York Post:
"Cops surrounded him and he pulled a gun on the cops. The guy was stupid. Where did he think he was going to go?"
Witnesses said that cops approached him while he was in his black jeep. They had their guns drawn. It was when Kato went for his gun that police opened fire and bullets flew through the windshield, killing the suspect.
The suspect went for the same gun that he used in the drug store robbery. He was pronounced dead at the scene. Police were able to catch up with the suspect quickly because he was stuck in traffic after he fled the scene of the crime at the pharmacy.
Witnesses said the pharmacist was seen running out of the store and down the street after the suspect, but he got into his jeep and took off. So the pharmacist was able to provide the vehicle description for the jeep that Kato was driving.
Kato was no stranger to law enforcement as he spent two separate long-hauls in prison for several different crimes between 1990 and 2008. Those convictions included robbery and sexual abuse.
The NYPD have been placing these GPS chips in prescription pill bottles since last year, but this is the first time that a decoy was used to track down the criminal.