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Prosecutors: Man stole medical masks from veterans hospital

FILE - In this March 24, 2020, file photo stacks of medical supplies are housed at the Jacob Javits Center that will become a temporary hospital in response to the COVID-19 outbreak in New York. A review of federal purchasing contracts by The Associated Press shows federal agencies waited until mid-March to begin placing bulk orders of N95 respirator masks, mechanical ventilators and other equipment needed by front-line health care workers. (AP Photo/John Minchillo, File)
FILE - In this March 24, 2020, file photo stacks of medical supplies are housed at the Jacob Javits Center that will become a temporary hospital in response to the COVID-19 outbreak in New York. A review of federal purchasing contracts by The Associated Press shows federal agencies waited until mid-March to begin placing bulk orders of N95 respirator masks, mechanical ventilators and other equipment needed by front-line health care workers. (AP Photo/John Minchillo, File) (Copyright 2020 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.)

RENO, Nev. – (KRNV) A Reno, Nevada man is behind bars after allegedly stealing hundreds of surgical masks from a supply cart at the local Veterans' Affairs Medical Center.

Peter Lucas, 35, was arrested on Tuesday, April 7 after police surveillance cameras captured him stealing at least four boxes of surgical masks from supply carts in his care and hiding them under his jacket before leaving the hospital. Authorities say each box contained 50 masks.

Lucas is charged with one count of theft of health care property.

The alleged thefts happened on March 19 and March 23, according to the criminal complaint.

The complaint goes on to say Lucas initially denied taking any hospital property, but later admitted he took four boxes of protective masks from his assigned cart. Lucas says he took the boxes of masks for a friend who also works in the medical field, but later said he planned on handing the masks out to homeless people. Lucas denied receiving any compensations for the masks, according to court documents.

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