As students in Suffolk County, New York, were heading back to their first week of school, locals in the community started to notice some makeshift blue vending machines crop up around the neighborhood on street corners and at bus stops. Labeled "PENS," the boxes looked innocent enough, but after loading in eight quarters, locals found something a bit more concerning inside.
According to officials in Brookhaven, Long Island, the so-called pen dispensers were actually doling out crack pipe kits, ABC 7 New York reports. Feed one of the three machines—labeled "PENS," "S PENS," and "SKETCH PENS"—two bucks, and you'd get what looks like a pen. But upon removing the ink filler and the pen top, locals found a glass tube and filters inside—what officials have called a "pretty obvious" disguise for drug paraphernalia.
"There are some people who think they’re going to make some money out of this and prey on a community and promote drug use in a community,” Brookhaven supervisor Ed Romaine said at a press conference Monday. "They’re going to be sadly mistaken."
According to CW affiliate WPIX, three of the machines are already off the streets after police confiscated two and locals obliterated another with a sledgehammer. Now the local police department is investigating who might be behind the bizarre scheme, but it's not clear what kind of charges the culprit could face. According to Town Councilman Michael Loguercio, it's not illegal to sell a pipe, but it is against the law to do so from machines installed illegally.
“Who in their right mind would even do something like that—to enable and to encourage somebody to do this?" resident Tony Gallo told WPIX. "Did they really think they were gonna get away with this?"
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