The NYPD is investigating after police shot and killed a man who investigators say robbed a Manhattan pharmacy Friday afternoon and was tracked down, according to sources, by a GPS unit hidden inside a dummy pill bottle. NY1's Magee Hickey filed the following report.
Police say 45-year-old Scott Kato of Mount Vernon robbed the Healthsource pharmacy on Second Avenue at least five times in the last two-and-a-half years. They released surveillance video of a suspect from a robbery in December.
According to police sources, Kato's luck ran out this time around when an alert pharmacist slipped him a fake pill bottle with a GPS tracker inside, along with the cash and oxycodone he requested.
Four police officers followed the suspect until he got stuck in traffic trying to enter the FDR at 96th Street and First Avenue.
When the officers approached his car, police say Kato reached for a weapon and the officers responded with gunfire.
Kato died from his injuries. The NYPD said a gun was found at the scene.
"I heard what sounded like about 10 or 12 gunshots that went off rapid fire. Almost sounded like a pack of firecrackers going off. So I looked out the window, because that sound is not too uncommon around here, and it didn't seem like anybody was reacting, so I just kind of ignored it," said one person at the scene. "But then I heard all of the emergency vehicles and came out to see what was going on."
It was back in January 2013 that then-Police Commissioner Ray Kelly unveiled a plan to place GPS devices in dummy prescription bottles to crack down on drug store robberies.
Pharmacists would hide them on store shelves, along with their real supplies. Now, it seems this high-tech idea has paid off.
"Thank God for the technology. I never heard of something like that before," said one person at the scene. "It is amazing, yeah. The cops are keeping up with the technology. Hopefully, these guys will find out that that's what they're doing, and they'll stop robbing the pharmacies."
Police have yet to say how many police bullets were fired by those four police officers.
All four officers were treated at a nearby hospital for ringing in their ears.