UM Hospital Has Dozens of Petty Thefts Every Month, Stats Show

When Aaron Todd returned to his sports medicine office at the University of Miami Hospital in July, his laptop bag — which held his social security card, keys, and Veterans Affairs card — was gone. So began his maddening descent into the lax security at the giant hospital, which made national headlines in August when an employee walked out with $14 million in drugs.

In hindsight, the brazen theft shouldn't seem such a shock. According to a City of Miami Police incident list obtained by Riptide, 25 robberies have been reported at the hospital this year, including six in September alone. In 2011, 31 thefts were reported.

"How in the world are that many crimes being committed?" Todd asks.

After his bag was stolen, Todd began investigating the crime on his own and quickly found holes in hospital security. Guards, who told him a man spotted in the hallways wearing a sweatshirt and hat was likely to blame, couldn't explain how he'd gotten into the building without photo ID. A security video was also missing 40 minutes of footage, and despite the fact that the suspicious man loitered in the building for more than an hour, no guards approached him before the crime.

"How alert are they?" Todd asks.

Those are the same kinds of holes critics say led to the massive three-year drug heist, which was discovered only by an outside audit this summer. A pharmacy technician, Manuel Gerardo Pacheco, has been charged in the case. (UM's security department has not responded to a request for comment.)

The records back up Todd's claims of systemic problems. They show that thieves repeatedly broke into cars on hospital property and took radios, iPhones, and purses. In one incident on September 28, a woman reported a defibrillator valued at $90,000, as well as three pacemakers worth $24,000, stolen from her car in a hospital lot. In another case on August 14, a disabled woman left her hospital room for testing, only to return and find that someone had made off with $500 worth of jewelry, along with her social security card and her food stamps card.

UM officials have promised a new focus on security in the wake of Pacheco's crimes. So far, those promises haven't turned into results for Todd. Security never recovered his missing stuff. To add insult to injury, he was fired by the hospital two months later, an act he alleges was for his outspoken questioning of security procedures.

 
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4 comments
lcpl_todd
lcpl_todd

I was terminated 2 weeks after questioning the UMH Security Dept regarding being told,"We see video of him coming thru front door when hospital opened" yet the first photos they offered the PD were not until 9:35am and he in middle of hospital hallway with no previous still shots showing where he was for an hour and a half.. or how'd he know where my belongings were hidden and at what time I'd be away from my desk?? Could how he knew where and when to get my possessions be connected to fact he was either using his telephone or texting in every still shot they gave police ?? AND which employee or person met with him there at west lobby waiting area that was so important that security camera feed wasnt turned over to PD??

lcpl_todd
lcpl_todd

Great article, Jon, and I appreciate it! Please note- I was wrongfully terminated just two weeks after I knocked on the security dept investigators door and asked to explain why the Ex Director of Operations told me the day I was robbed that he was seen standing outside the hospital doors at beginning of the day..and the next week I couldn't get a hold of him and the security dept offered a different story and report... when I spoke to a UMiami executive at UMiami Gables One- I was asked if I already had a lawyer... not yet.

simondelao
simondelao

The REAL CRIME is how can a woman on FOOD STAMPS afford to drive around with $500 in jewelry sitting in her car? Wanna bet she was either a negro, Cuban or Puerto Rican? 

FormerUMpatient
FormerUMpatient

I was a patient there earlier this year.  And I recently received a letter from them saying there was a breach of their patient records.  The letter said a former employee hacked their system, and my personal information may be compromised.  !!!!!!!!!

 
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