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N. Woodmere man charged with CVS product tampering

Police say Rabin Purnsrian, 43, of 117 Strathmore

Police say Rabin Purnsrian, 43, of 117 Strathmore Street, North Woodmere, purchased products at CVS locations in Nassau County, opened the products, replaced them with imitation products, then re-packaged and sealed the products and returned them to CVS for refunds. Photo Credit: Nassau County Police Department

A 72-year-old woman sickened by an over-the-counter male-enhancement drug concealed in an omega-3 supplements box has led to the arrest of a North Woodmere man on charges he tampered with products at CVS drugstores across Nassau County and sold the original products for a profit online.

The suspect, Rabin Purnsrian, 43, pleaded not guilty and was ordered jailed Wednesday on $10,000 bail on charges including criminal nuisance, grand larceny, scheme to defraud and reckless endangerment.

Police said the eight-month plot began in March and has cost CVS more than $8,000.

The woman, Ann DeMichael, was sickened, prosecutors said, because the enhancement product contains an ingredient harmful to women.

Investigators said Purnsrian would use a CVS discount card to buy products such as Excedrin, Prilosec, the nutritional supplements and women's hair dye, remove the containers from their original boxes, and rip off the bottom of the sales receipts showing the discount so he could return the items in exchange for refunds of their pre-discount prices, police said.

He would often put containers of cheaper products back in the original box, reseal it with hot glue and resell the original content for a profit on eBay, authorities said.

Detectives are still trying to figure out how much Purnsrian profited on eBay, said Det. Sgt. Dennis Ude of the Nassau Police Crimes Against Property Squad.

Attorney Felice J. Muraca of Mineola said Purnsrian is married and is "as shocked as anyone" that he was arrested.

Officials said Purnsrian committed the fraud at CVS stores in Lynbrook, Woodmere, East Rockaway, Hewlett, Westbury, Franklin Square, Wantagh and Rockville Centre.

Some items made it back to the shelves to be resold, officials said. DeMichael believed she had bought a fish oil supplement called MegaRed - only to take the pill from a bottle of Iron Man Plus.

In a statement, CVS spokesman Mike DeAngelis said customers who think they have a tampered-with product can return it for a full refund.

DeMichael said she got a bad stomachache soon after taking a dose of what she thought was omega-3 pills to ease her macular degeneration.

"I made my breakfast, and I'm watching [the news] in my kitchen. I don't look at the bottle, and I took one," DeMichael said.

With John Valenti

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