“Wheelchair-Bound” Man Steals Drugs from WalMart

A man bent on stealing Fentanyl disguised his intentions by riding into a Pennsylvania Walmart in a motorized wheelchair.

What could seem less threatening? But the pharmacy clerk got the surprise of her life when the man pulled out a sawed-off shotgun, then at gunpoint ordered her to give him Fentanyl, in the form of patches which are applied to the skin.

With the thief counting down five seconds before blowing her away, the clerk quickly acquiesced, handing over four boxes of the patches. Then, to her astonishment, he simply got up out of the wheelchair and walked away.

The clerk, despite her surprise, quickly told the pharmacist, who notified police. Within just minutes of the theft, a state trooper confronted the man in the parking lot, pulling his service weapon and ordering the thief, who was later identified as Thomas Allen Markowski, to drop his gun and the drugs.

But Markowski wouldn’t comply. They were so close to each other that the trooper managed to push the shotgun barrel aside as both men fired their weapons. Markowski’s shots missed, but the trooper’s two shots struck him in the chest. Markowski, under arrest, was taken to the hospital, where he remained responsive.

Apparently early in the day, Markowski had called the Walmart pharmacy to find out if they had the Fentanyl patches in stock, and would come later that same day to “pick them up.”

Fentanyl, which is only available by prescription, is a highly addictive substance, and when it runs out, users who’ve become addicted can resort to drastic measures to get more of it, as demonstrated in this story. Fortunately, no one else was injured by Markowski’s actions, but the pharmacy clerk, passersby, and the state trooper all had been at risk, so he gets his drugs, whatever the cost.

To learn more about Fentanyl, contact the U.S. National Library of Medicine’s Medline Plus.

America is suffering a severe opioid crisis, and there are resources for help. If you or someone you know needs help for opioid addiction, check out SAMHSA, the U.S. Dept of Health and Human Services “Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration.”