The Pioneer Post

The Pioneer Post is a resource for online students that provides tips and information about distance education.


Tuesday, December 4, 2007

By Amy Nemmetz, Online Undergraduate Program Coordinator
UW-Platteville Criminal Justice Department

What is that line that my mom used to throw my way? Oh yes, here's what it was: "Amy, you never cease to amaze me!" It's not that I was a horrible child, but occasionally, we all did something that our caretaker(s) failed to find "acceptable," right? As a matter of fact, "Making Poor Choices" could be a chapter in every child development textbook!

Now let me put a little criminal justice twist on the line, "You never cease to amaze me." Because many offenders plan their crimes, it should come to no surprise that we often find ourselves thinking, "They never cease to amaze me." Unfortunately in the criminal justice system, the word amaze commonly becomes synonymous with words like disgust, disappoint, scare, and other negatively applied words.

Where am I going with this? Well, I had a client on my bail monitoring supervision case load last year who attempted to break into homes in broad daylight in a prominent neighborhood to obtain prescription pain pills. What's even more disturbing is the client was a physical therapist at a respected health club. This last year, I also remember watching a news clip warning the public about opening the door to strangers. Apparently a young female had been ringing strangers' doorbells under false pretenses and once inside the residence, she asked to use the restroom. If/when the female accessed the restroom, she then combed through the cupboards and cabinets for prescription pills. You may be wondering if these two cases were isolated incidents of pure craziness in the Madison area. Although I hate to be the bearer of bad news, those addicted to prescription painkillers take drastic measures just like any other addict. As a matter of fact, in one of Frank Schmalleger's criminology textbooks, he included an article about prescription crime and actually mentioned a case from Madison, Wisconsin.

Schmalleger noted that a man dressed as a police officer, conducting a fictitious narcotics investigation, attempted to steal painkillers from a local woman's medicine cabinet. Thankfully, the man was apprehended, convicted, and placed on supervision. Just as with any other "group of offenders," these offenders keep topping the creativity scale--from posing as potential home buyers to steal prescriptions out of sellers' homes to burglarizing pharmacies. The possibilities are endless!

Perhaps the bigger problem may be what do we do about the offenders who are also out to make a quick buck before the next big score? Unfortunately, they could be selling these pills to vulnerable teens and young adults.

Although, we would like to think that we would never be the target of a prescription thief, it never hurts to be cautious of those entering our homes nor does it hurt to spread the word about these creative offenders.



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