MANKATO — A week of vacation is being used as evidence against a former CVS employee who is accused of stealing more than 1,500 pills from the company's two Mankato pharmacies since February.
A pharmacist working at the CVS store on Madison Avenue first noticed a problem when he found loose prescription pills on the floor in an area of the pharmacy where they shouldn't have been. He checked count logs and discovered several types of pills were missing.
The pharmacist checked a time period between May 9 and May 19 and discovered the count discrepancies would happen while Ricardo Daniel Lopez Jr., 21, of Mankato was working. He also found that no pills went missing during a seven-day period while Lopez was on vacation.
Loss prevention employees were contacted by the pharmacist. They set up a hidden camera in an area where the pills are stored. When they watched the video, they saw Lopez taking bottles of pills from the shelves and going to an area outside the camera's view. He would return the bottles to the shelves without going to the area where the pills are usually counted out for prescriptions, according to a complaint filed in Blue Earth County District Court Wednesday.
One of the loss prevention officers confronted Lopez on Monday. Lopez allegedly admitted he had been taking hydrocodone, alprazolam, diazepam and clonazepam pills since the middle of February. Lopez told the officer he was taking the pills for his own use and to share with a few friends. He also said he had taken pills while working at the other CVS pharmacy on Monks Avenue. Hydrocodone is a pain killer and the other drugs are used to treat anxiety and other medical disorders.
When he was asked if he ever sold the pills, Lopez said, "No, only gave them away to close friends," the complaint said.
The loss prevention officers reported 1,515 pills are missing.