Thief Gets Rude Awakening After Mistaking Laxatives For Opioids

Close up image of pills spilling out of a pill bottle
Victor Moussa / Shutterstock

The opioid epidemic causes thousands of deaths in the U.S. every year. Many people who end up addicted to these drugs start out on legal prescriptions for pain killers due to conditions that cause chronic pain. The connection has resulted in many doctors becoming hesitant to prescribe pain killers to patients.

Fortunately, every now and again, a story comes forth on the topic that just causes plain hilarity. One such story is that of 56-year-old Peter Hans Emery, from Florida, who stole pills from his roommate thinking they were opioids. It was only later that he realized they were, in fact, laxatives.

As reported by the Miami Herald, his roommate, Jayme Ream, became suspicious that Emery had been stealing his medication. Wanting to find out and exact some revenge if he was right, he switched the Hydrocodone Acetaminophen out with laxatives. He then set up a surveillance camera in his room to catch Emery in the act.

Sure enough, not long thereafter, Emery walked straight into Ream’s room, opened up the lockbox in which the medication was stored, and took two pills out of the bottle, thinking he had found opioids to feed his addiction.

“I couldn’t believe how quick he got in. He just basically, from the video, he just walked in,” Ream said. “Had the code and he was in.”

Ream took the tape to police, who arrested Emery. He had already been convicted twice on theft charges in 2014 and 2015.

“The defendant did knowingly and unlawfully obtain or use or endeavor to obtain or to use, the property, to-wit: two quantity 5mg pills of over the counter laxative or another, with the intent to deprive Jayme Ream of a right to the property of a benefit derive there from, or to appropriate the property to his own or the use of any person not entitled thereto.”

Fortunately for the thief, it appears he had realized prior to taking the pills that they weren’t what he had been looking for. Emery told police that he had thrown the pills away when he noticed they weren’t opioids. When he was arrested, he directed police to his trash can where they discovered the discarded pills.

Emery did not resist arrest, admitting freely that he had taken the pills and that he had done so without permission from his roommate. He is now facing a charge of felony petty theft.