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Towns crack down on 'crack pipe vending machines'

Boxes claim to sell pens but dispense drug paraphernalia

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CORAM, N.Y. – Police in Long Island are warning the public after a number of so-called crack pipe vending machines have appeared in recent weeks in New York towns.

Affixed to concrete pillars, the small blue boxes purport to sell pens for $2 in quarters, but they actually dispense glass tubes with filters, which people use to smoke crack.

On Monday, local officials said they confiscated one box found outside a strip mall in the town of Coram and plan to remove another. Police were alerted to the machines after residents posted about the boxes on social media.

Coram resident Scott Malz filmed a video of one his friends buying a "pen" from the machine.

"That's what we get -- pretty much a crack stem," he says in the video posted to Facebook. "It's not much of a pen. Smoking crack? That's what they're doing to better the neighborhood. It's ridiculous,"

Local TV station WPIX reported that someone destroyed a third machine with a sledgehammer.

"There are some people who think they’re going to make some money out of this and prey on a community and promote drug use in a community,” Brookhaven supervisor Ed Romaine said. "They’re going to be sadly mistaken."