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Medical professionals arrested for stealing pain pills

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ST. LOUIS COUNTY, MO (KTVI) - They train for years, and we trust them with our care.  But recently, some medical professionals got caught snatching pain pills on the job from patients who need them.

Earlier this summer at StoneBridge Senior Living in Maryland Heights, police say Lisa Shank, a licensed practical nurse, was pushing a medicine delivery cart.  But she didn’t just deliver meds to the elderly; she snatched about 30 hydrocodone tablets for her own use.

Maryland Heights Police Officer Mark Fedak says, “From what I understand, she actually removed a page from the medication dispensing log to try to cover the tracks.”

Thanks to thorough record-keeping at StoneBridge, Maryland Heights police say they were easily able to determine which nurse was responsible for the medicine cart at the time of the theft.

Shank admitted to stealing the pills.  “She was taking them to supplement the prescription she already had,” Fedak says.

Just weeks later, a 26-year-old nurse was caught on camera, stealing hydrocodone from her workplace, a laser liposuction center in Creve Coeur.  Her manager says the controlled substance cabinet is always monitored by surveillance, and employee Jordyn Leslie knew that.  Still, police say she falsified a log sheet to try to cover up the theft.

At a Mercy Hospital pharmacy, also in Creve Coeur, an employee was caught stealing more than 300 oxycodone pills.  23-year-old Erin Weilmuenster was spotted on surveillance snatching a pill bottle, and surreptitiously replacing it.

In both of these Creve Coeur cases, police say the employees admitted to the pain pill thefts, and to their addictions.

Fedak says, “This is a problem on a lot of levels, just beyond the stealing aspect, you have patients who may not be getting the medications they’re supposed to be getting.  You’ve got medical professionals who could be under the influence of narcotics while performing their duties, which could be very dangerous to the patients.”

In all three cases, the women are charged with Felony Stealing a Controlled Substance.

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