Police: Florida man stole laxatives thinking they were painkillers

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Peter Emery faces a felony charge of petit theft. (Photo: Pinellas County Sheriff's Office)

PINELLAS COUNTY, FL (AP) — A Florida man is behind bars after stealing what he thought were Hydrocodone pills, but which turned out to actually be over-the-counter laxatives and not powerful prescription opioids, according to a criminal complaint.

Cops allege that Peter Hans Emery, 56, took the pills from a “lock box” at the victim’s Pinellas Park home Thursday morning.

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The complaint lists Emery’s home address as the site of the theft itself. His relationship with the 49-year-old victim is unknown.

Emery, cops say, was recorded by a video camera “entering the victim’s lock box, selecting a pill bottle, pouring pills into his hand, and then leaving.” The pill container was labeled “Hydrocodone-Acetaminophen.”

However, Emery subsequently discovered that he had not swiped painkillers. The pill bottle actually contained dosages of Equate Gentle Laxative, which promises “predictable overnight relief” from constipation.



When Pinellas Park Police Department officers caught up with Emery Thursday night, he reportedly admitted taking the pills because he thought they were Hydrocodone.

“But he threw them away when he learned they were something else,” investigators noted.

Emery was booked into the Pinellas County jail on a felony charge since his rap sheet includes two prior theft convictions.

Emery is also facing probation violation charges since he is in the midst of a two-year community supervision term related to a conviction last year for theft and illegal possession of the painkiller Dilaudid.

Emery, a habitual offender, has served a combined 28 months in state prison and has a rap sheet brimming with arrests for offenses like burglary; cocaine possession; forgery; grand theft; resisting arrest; auto theft; and failure to appear in court.