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CVS

CVS on Nesconset Highway in Port Jefferson Station. Image from Google Maps

A Port Jefferson Station pharmacy was robbed at gunpoint April 3, according to Suffolk County police.

Three armed men allegedly entered CVS located at 4331 Nesconset Highway in Port Jefferson Station at about 3:40 a.m. Tuesday, April 3, with guns and wearing ski masks, restrained at least one employee and stole money and narcotics from the store, police said. No one was injured during the robbery, police said. Suffolk County Major Case Unit detectives are investigating the incident.

Anyone with information about the robbery is asked to call 631-852-8555 or contact Crime Stoppers at 800-220-TIPS (8477). All calls will be kept confidential.

Christina Loeffler, the co-owner of Rely RX Pharmacy & Medical Supplies in St. James, works at one of the few non-major pharmacies in the county participating in the program to give low to no cost Narcan to those with prescription health insurance coverage. Photo by Kyle Barr

By Kyle Barr

The opioid crisis on Long Island has left devastation in its wake, and as opioid-related deaths rise every year, New York State has created an additional, more affordable way to combat it. To deal with the rash of overdoses as a result of addiction, New York State made it easier for people with prescription insurance to afford Naloxone, a common overdose reversal medication.

On Aug. 7, New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D) announced starting Aug. 9 that people with prescription health insurance coverage would be able to receive Naloxone, which is commonly referred to as Narcan, for a copay of up to $40. New York is the first state to offer the drug for such a low cost in pharmacies.

Narcan kit are now available for low to no cost at many New York pharmacies. File photo by Rohma Abbas

“The vast majority of folks who have health insurance with prescription coverage will be able to receive Naloxone through this program for free,” said Ben Rosen, a spokesperson for the New York State Department of Health.

Before the change, the average shelf cost of Narcan, which is administered nasally, was $125 without prescription with an average national copay of $10. People on Medicaid and Medicare paid between $1 and $3, Rosen said.

This action on part of the state comes at a critical time. Over 300 people from Suffolk County died from opioid-related deaths in 2016, according to county medical examiner records. On Aug. 10, President Donald Trump (R) declared the opioid issue a national emergency, meaning that there is now more pressure on Congress to pass legislation to deal with the crisis, as well as a push to supply more funds to states, police departments and health services to help deal with the problem.

The drug is available in over 3,000 pharmacies across New York and well over 100 pharmacies in Suffolk County. This includes all major pharmacies like CVS Health, Walgreens and Rite Aid, but also includes a few local pharmacies that already participate in the state Aids Drug Assistance Program and Elderly Pharmaceutical Insurance Coverage and Medicaid, according to Kathy Febraio, the executive director of the Pharmacists Society of the State of New York, a not-for-profit pharmacists advocacy group.

The program is only available for people who either have Medicare, Medicaid or health insurance with prescription coverage. Otherwise, officials said that those who lack insurance who need access can get it through a number of free Narcan training courses.

“We think that anything that can have an affect on this crisis is a good thing,” Febraio said. “This will certainly help. We need anything that will get Naloxone into the hands of those who need it.”

While Suffolk County Legislator and Presiding Officer DuWayne Gregory (D-Amityville) likes the idea of additional access to Narcan, he is skeptical about whether those who get it know how to properly administer it.

Narcan kits are now available for low to no cost at many New York pharmacies, like at Rely RX Pharmacy & Medical Supplies in St. James. Photo by Kyle Barr

“You don’t need a PHD to know how to use it, but there is some training that would help people be more comfortable, such as how to properly use it in an emergency situation and how to store it so that it is accessible while making sure children can’t get their hands on it,” he said. “Unfortunately the epidemic is so wide spread. Everyone knows someone who is affected.”

Christina Loeffler, the co-owner of Rely RX Pharmacy & Medical Supplies in St. James, one of the few non-major pharmacies in the county participating in the program, said though the business has not yet received many calls for Narcan, the state requires pharmacists to demonstrate how to use it.

“You have to counsel the patient and show them how to use it,” she said. “We were showed videos, we were given kits to practice on before we were certified to do it. I feel like it’s a good thing that they’re doing it.”

The county currently provides numerous Narcan training courses for locals, where they receive training and free supplies of the life-saving drug. Suffolk County Legislator Sarah Anker (D-Mount Sinai) said that she will be co-hosting a free Narcan training course Oct. 5 at Rocky Point High School with support from the North Shore Youth Council.

“They absolutely need to be trained,” she said. “Narcan is almost a miracle drug — it brings people back from death. However, people need to know what they’re doing so that it is administered correctly.”

Check on the New York State Department of Health website’s opioid overdose directories section for a full list of participating pharmacies.

From left to right, Dean Balsamo, Michael Russo, and Antoinette Russo, who were all arrested yesterday by Northport police. Photos from Northport Police Department

A trio of Patchogue residents, including a mother and son, were arrested by the Northport Police Department on May 11 following a stakeout at the CVS Pharmacy in the village.

According to the department, detective Peter Hayes identified 20-year-old Michael Russo and 46-year-old Antoinette Russo, two of three suspects, at about 7 p.m. on May 11 entering the CVS on Fort Salonga Road. They were stopped as they exited the store, and allegedly found with nearly $900 worth of items in their possession. The police said the store was unaware of a theft.

The 46-year-old woman was charged with two counts of fourth-degree grand larceny and petit larceny and one count of fourth-degree criminal possession of stolen property. Her bail was set at $129,000.

Her son was charged with fourth-degree grand larceny, fourth-degree criminal possession of stolen property and two counts of petit larceny, and his bail has not yet been set.

Dean Balsamo, 36, was also arrested on the scene, after police said they discovered he was driving the mother and son’s getaway vehicle. He was charged with fourth-degree criminal possession of stolen property and petit larceny, and his bail was set at $23,000.

Attorney information for the three defendants was not immediately available on Thursday afternoon.

The department said on Thursday that the trio has stolen thousands of dollars’ worth of merchandise from other drug stores in the area.

On April 26, the suspects allegedly stole $1,300 worth of merchandise from the same CVS, and two days later took $2,816 worth of goods from the Rite Aid on Fort Salonga Road.

On May 7 they allegedly struck both stores again, netting $2,0176 from CVS and $585 from Rite Aid.

According to police, the Russos would enter the stores with a small, previously stolen item hidden on their person and intentionally set off the anti-theft alarm. The store staff would allow them to enter thinking the alarm went off in error. The suspects would then fill bags they were carrying with items from the store, go to the counter and pay for one small item, usually a beverage, and proceed to exit. When the anti-theft alarm would go off again, the store staff would let them leave thinking it went off in error once more.

The three are suspected in similar crimes in other locations throughout Suffolk County, police said.

The blighted Oxygen Bar property in Rocky Point could soon be demolished. Photo by Giselle Barkley

Rocky Point may soon have one less eyesore in its downtown business district.

After four years, Councilwoman Jane Bonner (C-Rocky Point) said the town finalized its purchase of Rocky Point’s Oxygen Bar property. The Town of Brookhaven acquired the land for $525,000 — a sum $275,000 less than the property owner’s asking price.

On May 9, 2011, the town shut down the business after four people were involved in a non-fatal shooting on the premises. The bar’s Place of Assembly permit, which allows people to gather and conduct activities at the location, also expired.

For several years, the owner of the Oxygen Bar property rented the establishment to various operators and promoters. Cafe Brianna was one of many businesses that used the establishment before the Oxygen Bar, but that eventually closed due to limited parking. When the bar came into town, initially the CVS across the street allowed cars from the neighboring business to park in its parking lot, but that agreement changed after the shooting.

As the area strayed from a family-friendly location, the town hoped purchasing the property would help revitalize the area — something Bonner started working on before she got into office.

According to Bonner, the bar’s poor business plan contributed to its failure in the business district.

“It’s one thing to always have a dream,” Bonner said. “It’s another thing to meet and discuss your business plan.”

The bar owners held wet T-shirt contests, gentlemen’s nights and other events to attract residents to the premises, but their attempts were unsuccessful. Since the bar closed in 2011, the property has remained vacant.

Now, the town may demolish the building before spring. The plan is to landscape and beautify the property after tearing down the building. The project would add to the property’s infrastructure improvements, which the town finished last year.

“This is wonderful for Rocky Point,” Bonner said. “[The bar’s] always been a blight and an eyesore even when it was operating.”

In threes
A group of young men were arrested in the early morning of July 16 and charged with second-degree robbery. According to police, a homeless 24-year-old, a 19-year-old from Stony Brook and an 18-year-old from Port Jefferson Station forcibly stole money from a person on Route 25A in Port Jefferson Station.

Quick cash
An unknown man pushed a woman to the ground and stole property from her by a bar in Port Jefferson Station on July 15 at around 4:15 a.m.

Failed getaway
Police arrested a 35-year-old Port Jefferson Station man in Port Jefferson on July 13 and charged him with second-degree criminal possession of a loaded firearm, third-degree possession of a narcotic with intent to sell, first-degree leaving the scene of a crash and second-degree obstructing government administration. According to police, at around 4:58 p.m. the man was instructed to shut down his vehicle when stopped at Old Town Road but instead drove north on Jayne Boulevard at a high speed. When he attempted to make a right onto Maple Avenue, he failed to stay to the right and collided with a 2013 Nissan, whose driver required medical attention. The man then fled on foot until apprehended by police. Police said the man possessed a loaded semiautomatic weapon and heroin.

Changing gears
An unknown person stole a bike right off the rack from the The Port Jeff Bike Dr. on Main Street in Port Jefferson on July 19, at around 2:10 p.m.

Can’t even
A woman assaulted another woman in the female bathroom at Portside Bar and Grill in Port Jefferson on July 18, at around 2:30 a.m. According to police, the suspect thought the victim said something negative about her, so she punched her. The victim was transported to John T. Mather Memorial Hospital in Port Jefferson to receive medical treatment. No arrests have been made.

Old-fashioned fisticuffs
A 25-year-old Rocky Point man was arrested in Port Jefferson and charged with disorderly conduct on July 18 after he engaged in a fistfight with security personnel at Billie’s 1890 Saloon on Main Street.

Friendly fire
Two co-workers at Heritage Diner in Mount Sinai were involved in a tiff on July 18. Police said one worker swung a utensil at the other, causing a laceration to the person’s face. No arrests have been made.

ATM on-the-go
An unknown person broke the front door of a CVS Pharmacy on Route 25A in Miller Place on July 16, at around 2:17 a.m., and fled with the cash register.

Lawn games
An unknown person drove across a lawn on Harrison Avenue in Miller Place on July 15 at some point between 10:45 p.m. and 11:30 p.m.

Homerun
A Hawkins Road home in Centereach reported a broken window above a front door on July 16 at 11 p.m. The damage was thought to be caused by a softball.

I’mrich
A 2013 Honda parked at a Ulrich Road home in Centereach was robbed of a wallet and credit cards at some point between July 14 and July 15.

Caught
A woman was given a field appearance ticket after attempting to take property from a Bob’s Store in Selden on July 19 at around 2 p.m. Police said the culprit tried to conceal a bathing suit and blender bottle in her bag.

Coffee buzz interrupted
Police said two men from the Bronx were arrested in South Setauket on July 15 and charged with third-degree burglary and possession of burglar tools. According to police, the men entered a Dunkin’ Donuts on Nesconset Highway at about 1 a.m. on July 15 and attempted to break into a safe. Police said they possessed a sledgehammer, a wedge tool and a pry bar.

Does this gift card buy drugs?
Two men were arrested on Pond Path in Setauket-East Setauket on July 15 and charged with loitering and unlawful use of a controlled substance. Police said the men, one 23 and the other 34 years old, were observed in a 2014 Honda at about 1:20 p.m. Police said the 23-year-old was observed exchanging a Home Depot gift card for heroin. The other man was seated in the passenger seat and possessed heroin.

Repeat burglar busted
An 18-year-old man from East Setauket was arrested on July 15 at 6:37 p.m. at his home and charged with two counts of second-degree burglary of a dwelling and one count of petit larceny. Police said that sometime between Feb. 1 and 28 the man stole master keys to an apartment complex on Jefferson Ferry Drive in South Setauket. Sometime between March 22 and March 31, he entered a residence using the stolen keys and stole property. He entered another Jefferson Ferry Drive residence on March 29 and stole jewelry.

Movie, popcorn, mischief
Someone broke the passenger-side front window of a 2015 Mercedes parked at AMC Loews Stony Brook 17 theater on Nesconset Highway in Stony Brook and stole Beats by Dre headphones, cash and cologne between 9:40 and 11:54 p.m. That same day, someone broke the window of a 2006 Ford F350 between 8 and 11:35 p.m. and stole tools from the same location.

Shattered window
Someone broke the rear passenger-side window of a 1994 Plymouth Voyager parked outside a home on Hollow Road in Stony Brook sometime between 8 p.m. on July 16 and 10 a.m. on July 17.

Jewelry box lifted
Someone snatched a jewelry box containing jewelry that was inside an unlocked 2006 Mercedes parked on Spring Meadow Road in Setauket-East Setauket sometime between 3:25 and 4:25 a.m. on July 19. There have been no arrests.

Car handle hulked
Someone ripped off the driver-side handle on a 2015 Ford Mustang parked on Adams Way at the Sayville Commons parking lot in Sayville. The incident happened on July 19 sometime between 12:05 and 12:50 p.m.

Phone jacked
Someone took an iPhone 4 and cash from an unlocked 2014 Honda CRV sometime between 6 p.m. on July 14 and 7 a.m. on July 15.

Bicyclist killed in Lake Ronkonkoma crash
Suffolk County police are investigating a motor vehicle crash that killed a Bohemia bicyclist in Lake Ronkonkoma on Tuesday evening.
Laura Heerbrandt, 23, of Ronkonkoma, was driving a 2014 Nissan eastbound on Portion Road when her car struck Luis Benitez, 51. According to police, Benitez swerved into her lane of traffic as he was traveling westbound on Portion Road.
Benitez was pronounced dead at the scene by a physician assistant from the Office of the Suffolk County Medical Examiner. Heerbrandt was not injured.
The vehicle was impounded for a safety check and the investigation is continuing. Detectives are asking anyone with information about this crash to contact the Fourth Squad at 631-854-8452.

Armed robber hits Hauppauge 7-Eleven
A masked man robbed a 7-Eleven in Hauppauge early Monday morning, injuring the clerk on duty.
According to the Suffolk County Police Department, the masked suspect, who was also wearing a black hooded sweatshirt, black pants and sunglasses, entered the convenience store on Townline Road shortly before 2 a.m., displayed what appeared to be a gun and demanded cash from the clerk. After the clerk complied, giving him cash from the drawer, the assailant fled on foot, heading west on Townline.
The clerk suffered a minor injury during the holdup, police said. He was treated at Stony Brook University Hospital and released.
Police described the robber as being about 6 feet tall and having a thin build.
Detectives from the SCPD’s 4th Squad are investigating the robbery. Anyone with information is asked to call them at 631-854-8452 or to call Crime Stoppers anonymously at 800-220-TIPS.

Police search for man who stole $400 in clothes from Commack store
Suffolk County police and 4th Precinct Crime Section officers are seeking the public’s help in identifying and locating a man who stole merchandise from a Commack store last month.
The man stole assorted men’s clothing from Kohl’s at 45 Crooked Hill Road on June 2 at about 6:15 p.m. The clothing has a value of about $400.
Suffolk County Crime Stoppers offers a cash reward of up to $5,000 for information that leads to an arrest.
Anyone with information about this crime is asked to call anonymously to Crime Stoppers at 1-800-220-TIPS. All calls will be kept confidential.

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Lawn signs opposing a potential CVS in St. James have resurfaced several months after the pharmacy withdrew its initial application. File photo by Phil Corso

After striking out the first go-around, CVS has stepped up with a second attempt at building a new site in St. James, and residents are not going silently.

Vincent Trimarco Sr., the attorney representing CVS Albany LLC, had withdrawn initial plans to install a 13,551-square-foot CVS pharmacy with a mezzanine and 57 parking spaces at the intersection of Woodlawn and Lake avenues back in November. But Peter Hans, principal planner for the Town of Smithtown, outlined the details of the latest proposal at a Town Board work session on Tuesday as St. James residents dusted off their anti-CVS lawn signs for another bout.

The new plans, documents showed, included an 11,970-square-foot building on the first floor with 1,581 square feet of mezzanine space. Hans said CVS had modified its original plan, now placing the proposed building within a commercial business portion of the lot without a zone change, and would require slight variances to make the plans possible, including a special exception to expand parking in a residential district.

Hans said the applicant was requesting this exception to give CVS an extra 50 feet of parking. The proposal will be heard at the June 9 Board of Zoning Appeals meeting at 7 p.m. at the Smithtown senior center. If approved, the BZA will send the proposal to the Town Board for site plan review.

“So they’re more or less shoehorning the building in,” Supervisor Patrick Vecchio said in response to Hans’ outlining of the new plans at Tuesday’s work session.

Trimarco could not be reached for comment. But in a presentation to the Planning Board last October, he assured St. James that CVS would be a good neighbor.

“CVS wants to become part of the community,” he said at that initial meeting late last year, inviting a heavy stream of jeers. “The community of St. James, we believe, really needs a full-service pharmacy.”

Residents had long been against the proposal to build a CVS on the site, citing an abundance of reasons why they felt it would be a detriment to their community.

When the first proposal was at the center of controversy in November, residents took to a special Facebook page called Say No to CVS in Saint James as a means to organize and promote their cause. That page breathed new life this week in light of the newest proposal — something the page had warned about months ago.

“Don’t be fooled,” the page posted after CVS’s application was withdrawn on Nov. 19. “This fight may not be over yet. If you have a sign, hold onto to it. CVS can revise their plan and come back at a later date.”

The signs started sprouting back up over the past month.

CVS currently owns three stores in Smithtown. But for more than 70 years, the St. James community has been the home of Spage’s Pharmacy, which is located roughly five blocks from the latest proposed CVS site.

Residents approaching the podium at a BZA meeting last year often cited Spage’s as a more-than-adequate option for anyone in town looking for basic pharmacy needs, including the store’s own management.

“In my opinion if you were to grant this, these variances are excessive, there’s no need for it, you wouldn’t have as many people in this room and the signs that are out there, with over 6,500 hits on our Facebook page Say No to CVS, that are opposed to what is going on here,” a recent post on the page said. “This is a downtown community and we care about the character of our area, and we care about our quality of life, and we care about the values of our properties.”

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