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FILE - This Tuesday, Aug. 15, 2017, file photo shows an arrangement of pills of the opioid oxycodone-acetaminophen in New York. Walmart is helping customers get rid of leftover opioids by giving them packets that turn the addictive painkillers into a useless gel. (AP Photo/Patrick Sison, File)

Woman pretended to have cancer to fund opioid addiction, Florida police say



VERO BEACH, Fla. (WPEC) - Deputies arrested a fugitive Monday afternoon for violating her probation.

But now, they're also seeking victims of another one of her crimes -- scams she allegedly used to fund her drug addiction.

Heather Grey
Woman pretended to have cancer to fund opioid addiction, Florida police say. (IRCSO)

Heather Grey, 32, was originally arrested for stealing from the C.J. Cannon's restaurant in Vero Beach where she used to work. After violating her probation in relation to that case, deputies obtained three warrants for her arrest in June 2017. She managed to evade law enforcement for an entire year and resorted to scamming friends and family during that time period, according to the Indian River County Sheriff's Office.

Grey posted on social media that she had various medical issues, including cancer, and sent direct messages to family and friends asking for money to cover her medical expenses. She specifically told them her doctor "only accepted cash" and would ask them for increments of $60 to $75. She also told them she was working with IRCSO Major Eric Flowers to "catch a dirty cop" and asked them to send her money so they could catch the person.

Deputies are also considering her a person of interest in recent scams where someone posed as Flowers over the phone, told people they had outstanding warrants and demanded gift card payments.

Officers obtained a search warrant for a house near 20th Avenue SW and 19th Place SW on Monday and arrested Grey when she returned home. They found several needles in her possession at the time and believe one was filled with an opioid.

Sheriff Deryl Loar took the opportunity to comment on the opioid epidemic as a whole:

"The opioid epidemic is very real and Heather Grey is a perfect example of what we have seen in our county. She has been lying to her friends and family about having cancer to get money for drugs. Since her arrest, we have heard from dozens of people who all heard the same story about needing cash for cancer treatments. Fortunately, many of her friends did not send money. We have confirmed approximately five people who did provide money via Facebook and Paypal."
IRCSO Sheriff Deryl Loar

Grey is currently being held without bond at the Indian River County Jail for her original probation violation. Other charges are pending, as deputies continue to investigate the extent of her alleged scams.

The IRCSO is seeking other victims and urges anyone with information regarding this case to call 772-978-6075.

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