By Rachel Dove
WILLIAMSON - An innocent mistake by the spouse of a woman who suffers from a debilitating health problem resulted in the theft of his wife’s medication and her insurance company has refused to refill the prescriptions.
Mingo County Sheriff’s Department Chief Field Deputy Joe Smith and Deputy Jonathan Endicott were dispatched to the Tug Valley Pharmacy on West Second Avenue in Williamson on June 27 to investigate the reported theft of three bottles of prescription drugs that were inside a bag that was accidentally left on top of a newspaper vending machine at the pharmacy.
According to information provided by Smith, Roger Ball had picked up prescriptions for his wife, Regina Ball, at a cost of $45.54. After walking away from the checkout counter, Smith said, Ball decided to get a newspaper out of the box and laid the bag with his purchases on top of the machine in order to get change out of his pocket. He began to look at the front page of the paper as he was leaving, Smith said, and inadvertently became distracted and forgot to retrieve the bag. Approximately 2-3 minutes elapsed before Ball realized what he had done and he immediately returned to the pharmacy, Smith said, but the medication was already gone.
Video surveillance recordings were reviewed by the deputies and Douglas Gooslin, 48, of Petersfork, Ky., was identified as the individual on the tape taking the bag of medicine and leaving the business with it in his possession, Smith said. Two of the prescriptions were not listed as a controlled substance, however; Hydrocodone, a Schedule III controlled substance, was the third medication inside the bag. This particular medicine is prescribed to the victim for pain relief from a chronic medical condition that is said to cause a great deal of discomfort and suffering.
Contact was made with Gooslin and he promised to return the medication, and was made aware of the charges against him, Smith said. Instead of delivering the stolen medicine to the sheriff’s department, the defendant’s spouse dropped them off at the Williamson Detachment of the West Virginia State Police, Smith said. A pill count was performed and only 29 of the 60 Hydrocodone pills were still inside the bottle, Smith said. Even though none of the other two medications were missing, Smith told the Daily News that the capsules were dirty and appeared to have been dropped in the mud or dirt and were not safe to take.
“Only a third of the non-narcotic prescription can be refilled, and these are medicines that Regina depends on to treat her health problems,” Smith said. “She will be forced to suffer because of another’s decision to steal her medication. None of the Hydrocodone pills will be reissued, so she will be in a lot of pain. It’s going to be a very long and difficult month for her.”
Gooslin was placed under arrest Thursday and was charged with one count each of petit larceny and possession of a controlled substance. He was arraigned before Senior Status Magistrate Kim Blair and was released from custody after posting a $2,000 bond.