Pharmacist Charged with Stealing Thousands of Pills

SCRANTON -- A pharmacist in Scranton is accused of stealing thousands of prescription drugs from the place where he worked.

Keith Carson of Dunmore was arraigned Monday night at the Lackawanna County Courthouse.

Carson is facing several charges for allegedly stealing thousands of prescription drugs from the Rite Aid in downtown Scranton where he worked.

Scranton police say Carson stole the pills over the course of three years.

Investigators say from 2013 through 2016, he stole thousands of pills, including oxycodone, hydrocodone, diazepam, and Tylenol 3 with codeine.

Some customers say he abused his role as a pharmacist.

"I just think that it's horrible because that's supposed to be the people that are not protecting us but distributing them to us and they should not be abusing their license and everything they have. They're taking advantage of the situation," said Courtney Sweeney of Jessup.

"I think it's terrible, especially for a man in that position, a professional," said Bruce Kizer of Scranton.

Investigators say the missing pills were discovered during a monthly inventory two weeks ago. The inventories are usually done by Carson. However, he was out of town this time.

When taken in for questioning, Carson admitted to giving those pills to a customer who had a prescription for oxycodone back in 2013. However, the customer--who Carson says he knows--would run out of pills before his new prescription was ready.

Carson told police he would give the customer extra pills and over the course of time, the number of pills Carson was giving him increased.

"I think that prescription painkillers are a lot worse than the street drugs," added Sweeney.

"It's an epidemic. It is, but it's terrible to hear about a professional," Kizer said.

While talking with police, Carson said he knew this would catch up with him eventually.

"Well, they're going to get caught is my thought. I don't know why they even try," said Diane Musewicz of Scranton.

Carson was locked up on $50,000 unsecured bail. He has a preliminary hearing set for June 15.

19 comments

  • Linda Evans

    I know it was a breach of trust, But Keith is a very kind and caring person. His kind heart took precedence over his better judgment. Keith knew and cared about his customers as people. He gave of his time unselfishly, including making deliveries after hours on his own time to people who couldn’t get out to pick up their meds. Please don’t forget these facts when you are tempted to judge him harshly.

  • Mad Dog

    This is why the government has to crack down and make it so damn difficult for those of us who live in chronic pain, and have a legitimate script for opiates.

  • Susan Phillips

    this has been going on since 2013 and was JUST discovered??? how closely were they auditing their inventory?? It’s not right but it should not have take 4 years to discover either.

    • Bill K.

      Susan, Rite-Aid management is just as much to blame. They violated one of the basic tenants of business practice, separation of duties. They had the same person audit the inventory who would fill prescriptions. This was a management decision. I’m sure Mr. Carson volunteered to audit his own inventory knowing full well he can falsify the records. But management should have said “No Keith, that’s not a generally accepted procedure. We have auditors who will come in and do that when you’re not here.” Instead they probably took the cheap way out and figured gee, Keith here is volunteering to do the audits for us. We won’t have to pay overtime for an auditor to come in after the pharmacy is closed. What a great guy!

      • Bill K.

        TomTom, you must be Keith’s manager, right? The idiot who put the pharmacist in charge of inventory. Do you need mommy to come and tie your shoes? Is that why you’re so butthurt today?

      • Karen H.

        Bill actually unless you have worked in a pharmacy you would not know how they are ran. The pharmacist on duty for the day is the only one allowed to count the narcotics – daily!! However they should have had someone higher up in the Rite Aid pharmacy dept. come in monthly and count all medications! There are procedures they are to follow. This should have been caught before it led to this.

    • BH

      Probably skimming a couple pills at a time off of customers, does anyone really count their pills when they receive them?

    • Conroy

      Look someone spat on the street! 1 year for every molecule in the spit!! For real this dude had serious addiction problems and never stole from anyone but the company. To whom a pill costs a penny. Some drug rehab and community service are all that is required in my opinion.

  • Bill K

    He did it for three years and was only caught two weeks ago. Carson did his own inventories. But he was off work this last inventory cycle. And that’s how he got away with it for so long. The company is partially to blame. Ever hear of separation of duties? It’s a basic tenant of generally acceptable business principals. Regardless of what your business is you never have the same person who doles out the pills (or cash, or laptop computers) responsible for inventory. Or THIS is what will happen, They teach this in the first year of college if you major in business education. And a huge company like Rite-Aid doesn’t know about it? I wonder what else is going on right under their noses. His managers should also be charged since their shoddy business practices allowed this to go on for years.

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