CORONAVIRUS

Arizona Hospital Employee Arrested, Accused Of Stealing Protective Equipment

Apr 5, 2020, 8:08 PM

In this April 4, 2020 photo released by the  Prescott Police in Prescott, Ariz., shows suspect Keit...

In this April 4, 2020 photo released by the Prescott Police in Prescott, Ariz., shows suspect Keith Brown. Prescott police say Brown, a housekeeping employee has been fired from his hospital job after being arrested on suspicion of stealing personal protective equipment and cleaning supplies in recent weeks as the coronavirus outbreak unfolded. Lt. Jon Brambila said 49-year-old Keith Brown of Prescott was arrested Friday, April 3, at Yavapai Regional Medical Center on suspicion of one count each of theft and fraud after police found numerous items valued at $1,700 in Brown’s vehicle and residence. (Prescott Police via AP)

(Prescott Police via AP)

(CNN) — An employee at an Arizona hospital was arrested after being accused of stealing $1,700 worth of protective equipment and cleaning supplies, police said.

Keith Brown, 49, was arrested and booked into the Yavapai County Jail on one count of felony theft and one count of fraud, the Prescott Police Department said in a statement Saturday.

The arrest comes at a time when health care workers and others on the frontline of the coronavirus epidemic are facing a critical shortage of protective equipment including masks, gloves, cleaning products and toilet paper, which are hard to find across the country.

Brown worked in the housekeeping department of the Yavapai Regional Medical Center West Campus, who contacted police on Friday regarding suspicions that Brown had been stealing supplies.

While being interviewed by police, Brown admitted to stealing gloves, hand sanitizer, surgical scrubs, washcloths, paper towels, masks, bleach cleaner, toilet paper, and an automatic hand sanitizer over the last three weeks, Prescott Police said.

CNN has reached out to Brown for comment.

Brown has been terminated from his job at the Yavapai Regional Medical Center West Campus, police said.

The police department said it is working with the hospital to return the items as soon as they are deemed safe to use.


Coronavirus Resources

See the latest information from the Utah Coronavirus Task Force here.

How Do I Prevent It?

The CDC has some simple recommendations, most of which are the same for preventing other respiratory illnesses or the flu:

  • Avoid close contact with people who may be sick
  • Avoid touching your face
  • Stay home when you are sick
  • Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue and then throw the tissue in the trash
  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, especially after going to the bathroom, before eating, and after blowing your nose, coughing or sneezing. Always wash your hands with soap and water if your hands are visibly dirty.
  • If soap and water are not readily available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol.
The CDC recommends wearing cloth face coverings in public settings where other social distancing measures are difficult to maintain (e.g., grocery stores and pharmacies), especially in areas of significant community-based transmission.

How To Get Help

If you’re worried you may have COVID-19, you can contact the Utah Coronavirus Information Line at 1-800-456-7707 to speak to trained healthcare professionals. You can also use telehealth services through your healthcare providers.

Additional Resources

If you see evidence of PRICE GOUGING, the Utah Attorney General’s Office wants you to report it. Common items in question include toilet paper, water, hand sanitizer, certain household cleaners, and even cold medicine and baby formula. Authorities are asking anyone who sees price gouging to report it to the Utah Division of Consumer Protection at 801-530-6601 or 800-721-7233. The division can also be reached by email at consumerprotection@utah.gov.


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Arizona Hospital Employee Arrested, Accused Of Stealing Protective Equipment