World news wrapup: 19 August 2021

Pharmacy worker’s stalker jailed; US pharmacist arrested over alleged sale of COVID vaccination cards on eBay; alleged robber tunnelled through plasterboard to get opioids

Stoke-on-Trent, Staffordshire: A man has faced court after breaching a restraining order aimed at stopping him from contacting a dispenser at a Lloydspharmacy.

The Stoke-on-Trent Crown Court heard that Samuel Leek had been harassing and abusing his victim for three years, between 2016 and 2019, reports the Stoke Sentinel.

“The defendant would be verbally abusive to the victim and other staff and would remove items from the display and throw them and cause damage to the pharmacy,” prosecutor Alexander Barbour told the Court.

Mr Leek had reportedly sent a message claiming he planned to “terrorise” the woman and her colleagues, and at another point brought a knife to the pharmacy, which he showed them.

Over three years, he notched up more than 20 convictions for offences including the harassment and possessing the knife.

The restraining order came into effect in January 2019.

In July 2021, the victim received another abusive message, of which she saw only an opening insult as she did not open it.

She said in a victim statement that she was looking for other work and did not feel safe.

Mr Leek was sentenced to eight months’ imprisonment after pleading guilty to breaching the order.

Judge David Fletcher told him that the restraining order was “for life unless a court says otherwise”.

“It is clear you have no remorse for what you have done.

“You are a risk to other adults. You are a risk to members of the public and to staff charged with looking after you.”


Chicago, Illinois: The US Department of Justice has issued a statement about Tangtang Zhao, who allegedly sold 125 authentic Centers for Disease Control and Prevention COVID-19 vaccination cards on eBay.

Mr Zhao, who was employed as a licensed pharmacist at Company 1 – which distributes and administers the vaccines across the US – was arrested after allegedly selling the cards to 11 different buyers, at a price of around US$10 (AUD$13,78) each.

The indictment charges Mr Zhao with 12 counts of theft of government property.

“Knowingly selling COVID vaccination cards to unvaccinated individuals puts millions of Americans at risk of serious injury or death,” said Special Agent in Charge Emmerson Buie Jr of the FBI’s Chicago Field Office.

“To put such a small price on the safety of our nation is not only an insult to those who are doing their part in the fight to stop COVID-19, but a federal crime with serious consequences.”

If convicted, the pharmacist faces up to 10 years in prison per count.


Nashville, Tennessee: A man has been arrested following an incident in May in which a suspect allegedly dug through a pharmacy’s plasterboard wall in order to steal opioids.

According to Franklin Police, Austin Cornett hid inside the Walgreensstore until it closed, before getting to work on the wall and entering the dispensary.

CCTV footage shows him checking medicines before walking away with what police refer to as a “large quantity” of opioid painkillers.

At the time police called for help identifying and then tracking down the person, and offered a reward for information leading to the arrest of Mr Cornett.

This week they received a tip that he was hiding in Jacksboro, and arrested him.


Surat, India: Footage of a hospital pharmacist attacking police after he parked illegally has gone viral, reports the Times of India.

Rajnikant Saxena, who works at Sural Municipal Corporation’s SMIMER Hospital as a pharmacist, reportedly parked his motorbike in a no parking zone.

Police began to tow the bike, and when Mr Saxena approached them, attempted to fine him for the illegal parking. In response, he tore the bike down from the tow crane and attacked the police.

A crowd gathered to watch and film the incident.

“As he was abusing and pushing the policemen, we tried to detain him, but he started punching police officers,” said a spokesperson. “He tore the uniform of police officers who were trying to control him.”

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