An ex-marine who has been accused of stealing 200 face masks from a hospital wore a surgical mask for his police mug shot.
Peter Lucas, 35, from Nevada, was caught on CCTV appearing to shove masks up his jacket before walking out of Ioannis A. Lougaris Veterans Administration Medical Center in Reno on March 19 and March 23.
Lucas has been arrested and charged with theft of health care property. He faces up to a year in prison and a $100,000 fine if convicted.
Lucas approached a stack of face masks at the hospital before walking away appearing to hold something under his jacket, images from CCTV show.
‘We will not allow the theft of personal protective equipment to go undeterred, endangering the safety of doctors, nurses and other health care professionals protecting our communities,’ US Attorney Nicholas Trutanich said in a statement.
‘Our military veterans served on the front lines to protect our country, and now our health professionals are doing the same in our fight against Covid-19.’
Lucas has admitted to taking the boxes, reports Kolotv, but claims he carried out the crime to give them to homeless people.
A door alarm was set off in the room on March 19, alerting police to the first robbery.
The hospital has ordered 94,000 face masks to protect its staff, and has received less than a third so far.
The US is currently at the epicentre of the coronavirus pandemic, which has caused the deaths of 16,715 people and seen 469,000 cases reported.
There have been 2,456 cases reported in Nevada and 86 deaths.