Arizona hospital aide steals coronavirus protective equipment, supplies worth $1,700, police say

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A hospital housekeeping employee in Arizona was arrested and subsequently fired after police say he admitted to stealing personal protective equipment and cleaning supplies amid the coronavirus outbreak.

Keith Brown, 49, was arrested at Yavapai Regional Medical Center in Prescott after hospital officials reported a suspected theft, police Lt. Jon Brambila said.

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Officers found $1,700 worth of gear and supplies inside Brown’s car and home, including gloves, hand sanitizer, surgical scrubs, washcloths, paper towels, masks, bleach cleaner, toilet paper and an automatic hand sanitizer, Brambila said.

Police found numerous items valued at $1,700 in Brown's vehicle and residence. (Prescott Police via AP)

Police found numerous items valued at $1,700 in Brown’s vehicle and residence. (Prescott Police via AP)

Many of the items have been in short supply during the COVID-19 outbreak as health workers race to treat a surging number of patients.

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Police were working to return the stolen equipment and supplies to the hospital, the department said.

Brown was fired from his hospital job after being arrested on suspicion of stealing personal protective equipment and cleaning supplies in recent weeks, police said. (Prescott police via AP)

Brown was fired from his hospital job after being arrested on suspicion of stealing personal protective equipment and cleaning supplies in recent weeks, police said. (Prescott police via AP)

Brown was booked on felony theft and fraud charges, police said. Online court records didn’t list an attorney for Brown who could comment on the allegations.

Arizona had 2,019 confirmed coronavirus cases and 52 deaths as of Saturday, according to the state health department.

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As states across the country continue to ramp up measures to limit the spread of the outbreak, Gov. Doug Ducey on Saturday ordered the temporary closure of businesses that require personal contact, such as barbershops, hair salons and tattoo parlors. The state has been under a stay-at-home order since Tuesday.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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