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Rostraver Township man charged with prescription fraud

| Wednesday, Jan. 15, 2014, 12:21 a.m.
Suspect Chad Mitchell, center, of Rostraver Township is frisked by Monessen police Chief John Mandarino, left, and Officer Dave Yuhas, Tuesday, Jan. 14, 2014, at the Monessen Rite-Aid pick up window.

A Rostraver Township man suspected of picking up a false prescription he submitted for nearly 200 anti-anxiety pills was arrested Tuesday by Monessen police at a city pharmacy.

Chad R. Mitchell, 30, of 114 Allen Ave., was allegedly attempting to pick up 180 alprazolam tablets at 5:37 p.m. at the Rite Aid drive-through window when he was apprehended by police Chief John Mandarino and Officer David Yuhasz.

Alprazolam, a generic brand of Xanax, is mostly used to treat anxiety disorders and panic disorders and is a controlled substance.

Monessen police on Tuesday received a call from a Rite Aid pharmacist reporting a false prescription that Mitchell allegedly faxed in Monday night. The script contained a fake form and electronic signature from Dr. Olabisi Asimolowo of the Penn State Medical Center in Hershey, Pa.

It contained Mitchell's actual name, address and date of birth and was marked for four refills.

Yuhasz said a Rite Aid staff member noticed the fax numbers did not match and placed a call to Asimolowo's office. The office verified that Mitchell was not a patient.

The staff also told police a male identifying himself as Chad Mitchell called the pharmacy several times Monday and Tuesday asking if the prescription had been filled yet. Mitchell was told it would be filled Tuesday.

When Mitchell arrived, a pharmacist notified police and both Mandarino and Yuhasz quickly surrounded Mitchell's car as it was parked outside the pharmacy pick-up window.

Following his arrest, Mitchell allegedly told Yuhasz that he obtained the fake prescription form from an internet website, that he knows “a lot of people in town that have fake prescriptions” and that he suffers from anxiety and depression.

Mitchell was charged with felony counts of acquisition of a controlled substance by fraud, forgery and criminal use of a communication facility.

He was arraigned Tuesday evening via conference before Magisterial District Judge Frank Pallone of New Kensington and sent to Westmoreland County Prison in lieu of $5,000 bond.

During the arraignment, Mitchell told Pallone he suffers from anxiety and was threatened by an unidentified friend to acquire the pills.

His preliminary hearing is scheduled for 10 a.m. Jan. 24 in front of Magisterial District Judge Joseph Dalfonso of Monessen.

Rick Bruni Jr. is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at rbruni@tribweb.com or 724-684-2635.

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