Police arrest hospital aide in thefts of equipment, supplies

Police in Arizona say 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

PRESCOTT, Ariz. -- A housekeeping employee at a Prescott hospital has been fired after being arrested on suspicion of stealing personal protective equipment and cleaning supplies in recent weeks as the coronavirus outbreak unfolded, police said Saturday.

Keith Brown, 49, of Prescott was arrested Friday 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, police Lt. Jon Brambila said.

The items recovered included gloves, hand sanitizer, surgical scrubs, wash clothes, paper towels, masks, bleach cleaner, toilet paper and an automatic hand sanitizer, Brambila said.

Online court records didn't list an attorney for Brown who could comment on the allegations.

The police investigation began after hospital officials called abut a possible theft, Brambila said.

Police were trying to arrange to have the items returned to the hospital as soon as possible if they're deemed safe to use, Brambila said.

Brambila did not immediately respond to a question on what Brown allegedly intended to do with the items.

Prescott is the seat of largely rural Yavapai County in north—central Arizona. The county as of Saturday had 43 coronavirus cases, according to the state Department of Health Services.