A Gloversville man is in custody after allegedly breaking into a secure anesthesia cart at Nathan Littauer Hospital and making off with vials of medication.
Todd G. Plummer, 23, of 69 S. Judson St., Gloversville was arrested late Sunday morning following a police investigation into a theft at the hospital.
According to Gloversville Police Capt. John Sira, Plummer was visiting a woman and her new baby in the maternity ward in Nathan Littauer. He couldn’t say whether the woman was a friend or family member, but said at approximately 6:45 Sunday morning, Plummer slipped out of the visitation room and into an empty operating room.
In the operating room, Sira said, Plummer forced open a locked anesthesia cart to access the materials.
“The cart was locked,” Sira said, “but if you pull hard enough the drawers still come open. Locks are for honest people.”
During operations, certain medications are measured by the syringe from one-use vials. If a patient needs only half a vial, the rest is disposed of.
According to Sira, Plummer was able to get his hands on half-used vials of morphine and several other narcotics, carrying them to a nearby bathroom to dispose of the emptier vials before leaving the hospital.
Shortly after the theft, staff noticed the broken cart and called the Gloversville Police Department.
A short time later, Plummer returned to the hospital. Officers were waiting for him.
“We found narcotics from the hospital on his person, in his car, and later we found the same vials back in his apartment,” Sira said.
Nathan Littauer Hospital spokeswoman Cheryl McGrattan disagreed with the Police Department’s findings, saying Plummer could not have obtained narcotics in the manner described.
“We have a very strict policy on medication disposal,” she said.
According to McGrattan, staff render extra narcotics “un-reclaimable” by essentially pouring out half-used vials before throwing them away.
Plummer, she said, could have escaped with certain unregulated medications used in the birthing process, but not morphine.
“Our staff handled the incident beautifully,” she said. “No patients were harmed.”
She would not comment on how Plummer got into the operating room, a place Sira said is restricted.
Sira could not comment on the quality of hospital security. He did say Plummer is the first person in his memory to steal medications from Nathan Littauer Hospital.
Sunday’s incident was not, however, Plummer’s first run-in with the Gloversville Police. Sira couldn’t comment on Plummer’s actual record except to say, “He was familiar to us.”
Whether or not narcotics were involved, Sira said, all medications were recovered.
Plummer faces charges of criminal mischief, possession of stolen property and petty larceny.
He was arraigned in Gloversville City Court and sent to Fulton County Jail in lieu of $20,000 cash bail.