Durban nurses arrested for stealing credit card from dying patient

13 January 2021 - 18:20
Two Durban nurses were arrested and charged for stealing and using the credit card of a businessman who died while in hospital.
Two Durban nurses were arrested and charged for stealing and using the credit card of a businessman who died while in hospital.
Image: 123RF/varandah

Two male nurses, aged 40 and 45, from private hospitals in Durban were arrested and charged for fraud and theft after stealing a credit card from a businessman who was on his death bed at St Augustine's Hospital.

According to police, an employee of the Netcare St Augustine's Hospital — who the hospital said had been a contracted by an agency — was arrested after video footage showed him using the credit card after the businessman had died.

“It is alleged that the complainant, who is the owner of Auto Engineering on Sydney Road in Umbilo, has a business partner who was admitted in St Augustine's hospital. It is alleged that they have a joint business account,” police said.

The complainant noticed his partner's card was being used while he was in hospital and it continued to be used even after he had passed away.

“It is alleged that the pin code of the card was saved on the deceased's cellphone. The phone was recovered at a second-hand cellphone shop on Point Road.

“According to the bank statement, one withdrawal was made at St Augustine's Hospital. Their video footage was not clear enough. Investigating officer Sgt Ngcobo from Umbilo continued with his investigation. He visited one of the stores where purchases were made with the card,” police said.

Ngcobo went to Glenwood Spar where he obtained CCTV footage, confirming that the card had been used by the contracted St Augustine's employee.

“He was dressed in full uniform. The accused was arrested and some of the goods he purchased were recovered. He said the card was with his friend. He too was arrested and other goods purchased by him were also recovered.”

The second accused is believed to be a nurse at a private hospital in Umhlanga.

The men appeared in the Durban magistrate's court on Wednesday where their case was remanded to January 22 for a bail application. They will remain in custody.

Police said accused one is a repeat offender who has been arrested for other cases of theft and fraud. He is also wanted by the Bellville police in Cape Town for fraud.

Accused two has also previously been arrested for fraud.

In a statement on Wednesday, the hospital thanked the police for their swift action.

“At the end of last year, we were most concerned when it was reported to us that the credit card of a patient had been stolen, despite the extensive security measures in place within our hospital,” said Heinrich Venter, general manager of the hospital.

Netcare emphasised that the second accused was not an employee of Netcare's uMhlanga Hospital.

“We always advise patients to hand in their valuables to security personnel for safekeeping, which is done in accordance with our strict chain of custody paperwork, to minimise the possibility of theft or loss in our hospital,” said Venter.

TimesLIVE


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