UPPER EAST SIDE — Police shot and killed a man they said has robbed the same Second Avenue drugstore five times — after tracking him down via a GPS device hidden in pill bottle he boosted during a Friday afternoon heist, authorities said.
Scott Kato, 45, of Mount Vernon, N.Y., held up Health Source Pharmacy at 1302 Second Ave. at 1:30 p.m., making off with a supply of Oxycontin pills and several hundred dollars in cash, police said. Tucked in with a bottle of dummy pills was a GPS tracking device, police said.
Surveillance video recorded Kato, wearing a Yankees jacket and carrying an umbrella, walk in and pull out a black handgun, police said. He handed the cashier a bag and demanded money and pills then reached into the register and pulled out the cash, according to the NYPD. This was the fifth such attack on the pharmacy by the suspect in the past four years, according to the NYPD
The drug store owner and cashier followed Kato out of the store after the holdup in a tense few moments during which the man reached into his pocket as he walked away, witnesses and a police source said.
"He realized he was being followed and he pointed the gun at them one more time," a source said.
''He tried to scare them,'' local hair salon owner Avi Benichou, 47, said.
Officers following the GPS signal tracked Kato to East 96th Street and the FDR Drive, where he was stuck in traffic while riding in a Jeep at 1:50 p.m. When four officers approached the suspect, he drew a High Point 9 mm automatic handgun and the police shot and killed him, authorities said.
"I heard seven shots — pop, pop, pop, pop. It sounded like an Uzi," said Areles Peña, 57, a home health aide, who was in her fourth floor apartment at the time of the shooting.
Peña said she saw a body lying face down on the pavement and later saw EMS workers cover the man with a blanket.
Kato has been convicted of robbery previously, and was also suspected of hitting a separate pharmacy in Midtown, the NYPD said. He was recently arrested in Mount Vernon, police said.