Vending machines are seen all over the world, but a few that appeared on Long Island seemed to raise several concerns. Three vending machines were purported to sell pens but were actually dispensing crack pipes for $2 in quarters. “You think you’ve seen everything,” Brookhaven Supervisor Edward Romaine told NPR. “This is a new one on me.”
Brookhaven town officials said $2 in quarters could buy “a ceramic, glass pipe” disguised as a pen for smoking crack, at a news conference Monday. According to Romaine, three machines were discovered in total. Two were near a Home Depot and one was near a small shopping strip. All three vending machines were removed after the discovery of what they were actually selling.
The machines were originally reported to authorities as pen dispensers and “many people had thought within the community, because it was the first week of school, that perhaps they were actually selling pens,” Councilman Michael Loguercio told reporters.
A firefighter used the vending machine to receive a pen and found himself holding an entirely different object. After his discovery he alerted town officials that the machine was not selling the correct item.
According to Romaine, the machines were originally tampon dispensers that were ripped out of bathrooms. The installation of the machines required 8-inch holes to be dug and then filled with concrete, Romaine said.
“Whether this is the most serious crime in Long Island, I doubt it. But I hope the police would pay attention because as minor as it may seem, it’s rather brazen.”
Loguercio said the most populated town is Suffold County, Brookhaven, is attempting to combat opioid addictions, however, crack is still prevalent in the community. Authorities believe the vending machines are so similar that the same person or people may be the culprit behind their installation.
It is not illegal to sell a pipe, Loguercio said, but these pipes are considered drug paraphernalia and they were distributed from machines that were illegally installed. The district attorney will continue to investigate but so far, no suspects have been identified, according to Romaine.