Now that several weeks have passed since our community was tabbed the “steroid capital of the world,” at least one thing is clear, Bay Ridge deserves some answers.
Lowen’s Pharmacy and Dolphin Fitness have been named by authorities in the ongoing steroid probe, yet only one charge has actually been filed, no one has been jailed, and even more inexplicably, all three remain open for business.
Am I the only one wondering if we’ve learned nothing from Richard Jewel? Of course, you remember ex-security guard Richard Jewell, who was accused of bombing the 1996 Olympics, yet was never charged. He then underwent a trial-by-media before he was eventually exonerated – then sued several media outlets and got millions.
But almost 12 years later, government officials are still chirping like birds. In May, state agents raided Lowen’s, whch is at the corner of Bay Parkway and 69th Street, pulling out $200,000 in steroids, they claimed. A second raid on Oct. 16 yielded $7.2 million in human growth hormone, they claimed again.
After the second raid, law enforcement wasn’t as tight-lipped as it usually is.
“It was a closed circle,” once source told the Daily News. “Lowen’s processed thousands of prescriptions a month from a stable of doctors. Customers found out about these doctors … through the gyms.” That newspaper — and others — said that sources identified Dolphin Fitness, on Bay Ridge Parkway, as a roid-referral service.
I admit the innocent-until-proven-guilty thing has become a dated concept in this day and age, but imagine the daunting task of running a business, in a small close-knit community like Bay Ridge, amid charges that haven’t even been formally made.
After all, if there isn’t enough evidence to shut down these places after at least five months of investigating, how is there enough to publicly point the finger?
Maybe the charges are true, but to this columnist, that’s a hard sell. So far, there’s been months of investigation that have revealed, at best, that a few consenting adults have chosen to hurt themselves (or potentially heal themselves, if you believe Suzanne Somers, who swears that human growth hormone is the fountain of youth).
But no matter what happens, the truth is that residents will always view Dolphin Fitness and Lowen’s with suspicion — and in a small town like ours, reputation is one thing you can’t get back.
If Lowen’s and Dolphin Gym are ultimately vindicated (not that they’ve even been charged yet!), then this columnist hopes that at least they learn a thing or two from the Richard Jewel case — the lawsuit part of the case, that is.
Matthew Lysiak is a freelance writer who lives in Bay Ridge.
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