Pharmacist accused of stealing hundreds of pain killers from his job

Posted at 11:09 PM, Mar 27, 2017
and last updated 2017-03-28 07:44:41-04

A pharmacist is accused of stealing over 900 prescription Tylenol pain killers from a CVS pharmacy where he worked. 

Ryan Thomas, 28, is facing several charges including fraud to obtain a controlled substance and grand theft. 

According to an arrest report from the Lee County Sheriff's office, Thomas is believed to have taken more than 929 Tylenol IV and Tylenol III pain killers from the pharmacy on Fort Myers Beach. Tylenol IV and Tylenol III both contain codeine. 

“The one that stands out the most is the Tylenol IV, because that’s the one that has abuse potential," said said T.J DePaola, President and Head Pharmacist Cypress Pharmacy. "That’s the one that has street value to it,“ he said.  

According to investigators, Thomas was caught on camera removing four bottles of suspected Tylenol IV off the shelf.

Further investigations revealed Thomas submitted an order for 400 tablets of Tylenol IV painkillers which "set off a red flag" to loss prevention managers. 

“400 in one shot, that’s very unusual, " said Depaola, who uses the same pharmaceutical supplier as the CVS. 

“It’s a big difference between over the counter Tylenol. It’s got codeine which as a higher addiction potential to it, said DePaola.

Investigators believe Thomas also took over 200 pills of Tylenol III. 

“The one that stands out the most is the Tylenol 4, because that’s the one that has abuse potential that’s the one that has street value to it, “ said DePaola. 

Orders of controlled substances are tracked from the time they leave the manufacturing lab to avoid fraud. DePaola says that is part of the reason why officials are able to track down fraudulent activity. 

“It’s a prescription narcotic which is tracked by the pill, forget about the bottle. They want to know the count down to the pill so all of a sudden you have four bottles missing. It has the match the inventory,” said DePaola. 

A discrepancy in the inventory is exactly how Thomas was caught. A loss prevention manager says it was the large order of Tylenol IV that put Thomas on their radar.