Man in surgical scrubs steals medications from Missoula hospital

2012-11-30T08:06:00Z 2012-12-01T00:15:33Z Man in surgical scrubs steals medications from Missoula hospitalBy GWEN FLORIO Missoulian The Billings Gazette
November 30, 2012 8:06 am  • 

A man accused of donning purloined scrubs, a name tag and a surgical mask during an emergency room visit, and then stealing medications, faces a felony drug charge.

Missoula County Justice of the Peace John Odlin ordered Nicholas Norman Schelin held on $25,000 bail on charges of criminal possession of dangerous drugs, and misdemeanor theft.

Schelin, 28, and his girlfriend allegedly went to the St. Patrick Hospital emergency room early Thursday morning, according to charging documents filed by Deputy Missoula County Attorney Andrew Paul.

According to Paul’s affidavit:

A nurse told authorities that the two were placed in the same hospital room, but that Schelin must have left by a back hallway when the couple was left alone.

A radiology department worker saw a man in scrubs, a mask and an identification badge stuffing items from a “crash cart” into his pockets. When the worker asked him what he was doing, “the male shoved the ID badge in her face and made up some reason to be removing the items – telling her he needed more supplies.”

The woman recognized the name on the tag, and knew the man wasn’t her co-worker. She led him to an area with more people and whispered to someone to call security – at which point, a co-worker asked aloud, “Why do you need security?”

The man ran, stripping off the scrubs as security officers chased him. Police found him hiding behind a large garbage can within a fenced and locked courtyard on First Baptist Church property.

When an officer drew his Taser and ordered Schelin to walk toward him, Schelin instead moved backward. The officer jumped the fence and apprehended him.

Police found 18 nitrile examination gloves, three syringes, a vial of Epinephrine, a security seal with identification, a St. Patrick Hospital ID, two rolls of tape and two Diazepam cartridges.

The man told police he took the medications for his 2-1/2-week-old daughter, who was sick at home with her mother in Spokane. First he said the girl had leukemia but later said she had pneumonia. He also said he caught a ride to Missoula on Wednesday to see his other girlfriend.

And, he told police he and that woman – who allegedly ended up fighting with hospital security officers – went to the hospital because he uses heroin and oxycodone and he wanted to get clean, according to Paul’s affidavit.

Deputy Missoula County Attorney Jason Marks requested the $25,000 bail Thursday, saying that Schelin has four out-of-state felony convictions.

Criminal possession of dangerous drugs is punishable by up to five years in prison and a $50,000 fine.

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