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Martinsville Bulletin, Inc.
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204 Broad Street
Martinsville, Virginia 24115
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Warning issued on parking lot queries
Perry: Drugs sometimes motivation

Friday, November 15, 2013


Henry County Sheriff Lane Perry said public awareness is needed to help thwart cases of people approaching shoppers in parking lots and asking for money or favors.

“We have had a lot of reports lately of this type of behavior,” he said Thursday.

In some cases, people in the parking lots of pharmacies and other businesses that sell cold medications “are asking shoppers to go inside and buy pills that contain pseudoephedrine” or ephedrine, Perry said.

Those drugs are ingredients in some cold medications, but they also are used to make methamphetamine, according to a release from Henry County Sheriff’s Capt. Eric Winn.

“With the increase nationwide in the manufacture of methamphetamine,” measures to control the sale of over-the-counter cold medications were implemented, Winn wrote.

One of the measures is to limit the amount of ephedrine or pseudoephedrine a person can buy in a certain time period, Winn said.

Virginia statute 18.2-265.7 limits retail sales “to no more than 3.6 grams per day and 9 grams per 30-day period per individual customer.”

But some people try to circumvent that by asking others to buy the medication for them, Winn said.

In addition, “we have also received reports of individuals approaching people and asking them for money,” Perry said.

Some people “have told a story of being in dire need for money,” Winn said in the release, and some of those approached insist on giving them money.

Perry said too often, that money ends up being used to buy alcohol and/or drugs.

Area residents are “compassionate and want to help” others, Perry said. However, he encouraged those who want to help to “know exactly where your money is going.”

“We are cautioning people that if you see this type of behavior, or if you are approached by someone asking for money or asking you to buy something for them, be safe, but get away” as soon as possible, Perry said.

Winn added that while officers frequently patrol businesses, “any time you feel threatened, coerced or otherwise pressured,” call the 911 Center immediately.

Any information that can be gathered without putting yourself in harm’s way, such as tag numbers of vehicles, would be helpful to authorities, he added.

“The main thing is to be careful and be aware,” especially as the holidays approach, Perry said.

To report suspicious activity or if you witness a crime, call the Henry County Sheriff’s Office at 638-8751 or Crimestoppers at 63-CRIME (632-7463).


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