This file photo shows a person holding a crack pipe similar to the ones that were sold in vending machines in Suffolk County. The vending machines claimed to be selling “pens” for $2.00. At least three were removed and seized by police in different locations. (LIONEL BONAVENTURE/AFP/Getty Images)
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Officials in Suffolk County, New York, have shut down at least three crack pipe vending machines that were installed on public property, according to published reports.
How did it work?
The blue vending machines were cemented into the ground and appeared to be dispensing pens for $2.00 apiece. But located inside the “pen” was a crack pipe kit consisting of a glass tube and filters, WABC-TV reported.
Town of Brookhaven spokesman Jack Krieger told media the machines were "repurposed tampon dispensers."
“There are some people who think they’re going to make some money out of this and prey on a community and promote drug use in a community,” Brookhaven Town supervisor Ed Romaine said at a news conference. “They're going to be sadly mistaken.”
The machines were found last week in three Long Island, New York, communities, KCPQ-TV reported.
Where were they located?
One was located outside of the Fairfield apartment complex in Medford. A second was found at a bus stop near a Home Depot on Route 25 and the third installed near the Coram Commons Shopping Center on Middle Country Road in Coram.
Town leaders and residents are concerned there could be more crack pipe vending machines lurking in their communities.
“Who in their right mind would even do something like that -- to enable and to encourage somebody to do this?” Tony Gallo, a Coram resident, said.
“Did they really think they were gonna get away with this?” Gallo added.
Suffolk County residents were discussing their anger about the vending machines on Facebook. A group of the residents reportedly destroyed one of the machines with a sledgehammer.
“Is it drug paraphernalia?” Dean Murray, a New York Republican assemblyman, said during the press conference. “I don’t remember ever buying a pen that came with a pack of filters, so I think it’s pretty obvious."
Over the weekend, police removed and seized the machines under a town code violation for “altering public property.”
Police have asked residents to immediately report any additional sightings of the machines.
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