An ex-pharmacy employee from Kensington, P.E.I., who is believed to have stolen thousands of pills from her employer, has been sentenced to two years less a day in jail.


RCMP seized prescription drugs from Phyllis Curtis's purse after she finished her shift at Murphy's Pharmacy in Cornwall. (RCMP)

Phyllis Shirlene Curtis, 38, pleaded guilty to trafficking, possession and stealing prescription narcotics. Crown and defence lawyers jointly recommended the two years less a day sentence.

An agreed statement of facts read out in P.E.I. Supreme Court Wednesday morning said RCMP first became involved in the case in May. An internal audit by Murphy's Pharmacy in Cornwall of its hydromorphone and oxycodone supplies revealed inventory adjustments during Curtis's shifts.

On May 12, video surveillance showed Curtis removing hydromorphone from the inventory cabinet, and computer records showed her making an inventory adjustment for the 60 pills in the bottle. The empty bottle was found in a recycling bag.

On May 24, under guidance of RCMP, video surveillance captured Curtis removing a bottle of 500 oxycodone pills from the inventory cabinet.  At the end of her shift, RCMP approached Curtis as she was getting into her car, and told her she was under arrest.

"The pills are in my purse," she immediately responded, according to court documents.

RCMP searched the purse, and found 500 oxycodone pills in a baggie and 60 hydromorphone pills in a bottle.

Further research on inventory records at the pharmacy found a pattern of adjustments by the accused going back to October 2012. These adjustments included 599 hydromorphone pills and 7,127 oxycodone pills. It was unclear how many of these adjustments were proper, and how many represented thefts by Curtis.

Curtis told RCMP she had been stealing the pills over the course of many months and giving them to a friend. The friend was using them to pay off a debt.

When Curtis gets out of jail she'll be on probation for 18 months. Supreme Court Justice Wayne Cheverie also ordered her to pay $2,400 restitution to the pharmacy.