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Police Trying To Figure Out Who's Behind Vending Machines Selling Drug Paraphernalia

BROOKHAVEN, N.Y. (CBSNewYork) -- In Suffolk County's drug fight, police want to find who is responsible for putting drug paraphernalia in vending machines.

For $2 in quarters consumers were dispensed a writing pen with what looked like a drug pipe hidden inside, CBS2's Jennifer McLogan reported Monday.

A pen dispensary was knocked to the ground by an angry town resident who called in Brookhaven officials to lug it away, furious at whoever installed vending machines across the community filled with apparent drug paraphernalia.

"It's a crack pipe. It's a ceramic glass pipe disguised as a pen dispenser. You put in four quarters. What was amazing was the audacity of who did this," Brookhaven Supervisor Edward Romaine said.

Police in Suffolk County are trying to figure out who stocked vending machines with drug paraphernalia in several towns. (Photo: CBS2)

Audacity indeed, said homeowners in nearby Coram and Medford, where at least three coin-operated dispensers masquerading as innocent pen machines seemingly appeared overnight in state public rights of way, adjacent to malls and bus stops that are now littered with pipe cases and lighters. The idea was to lure the susceptible.

"They look like they are on something kind of crazy," Coram resident Thomas Taranto said, adding when asked if he was referring to a vending machine, "Yeah, I think the town should offer some kind of help for them."

"To see someone come out and try and take advantage of individuals who are out here that we are trying to help, it's upsetting," added James Freeman of the Greater Gordon Heights Civic Association.

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Town officials said at first parents thought the pen dispensers were installed for the first day of school, but then social media exploded with complaints they contained crack pipes.

Selling a glass pipe or pen isn't illegal, but installing the machines without a permit and site plan is a code violation, McLogan reported.

"I've never bought a pen that came with filters to be used, never seen glass pens," state Assemblyman Dean Murray (R-Long Island) said.

Suffolk police and the district attorney are now investigating.

"It looks like a pen. Take it apart, now you've got the pipe, the screen to separate the drugs and then smoke the other end like that," Brookhaven Councilman Michael LoGuercio said.

Law enforcement has received tips, but so far no one has been linked to the dispensers. A bogus phone number on the back of the machines were cemented in place with concrete.

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