PHILADELPHIA (WPVI) – Hospitals are often considered places of treatment, but an Action News investigation found they are not immune to crime.

Ronda Morris said her mother Joanna died unexpectedly at the University of Pennsylvania Hospital in May.

“So I said, does she have any things with her? Do you know if you have anything? And he said, “No.” So I said, “Oh, good,” Morris recalled.

She said that after repeated calls to the hospital, someone finally found her mother’s handbag.

But she did not think about it until a month later she received a statement from her mother’s bank.

“That Monday, the 24th, someone twice took cash from an ATM at the hospital – both times for $ 400,” she said.

It was three days after her mother’s death.

She immediately went to the University of Pennsylvania Hospital. Morris said security took the report.

But she said the investigation came nowhere and she was unable to close her mother’s account until she received a death certificate.

Morris says $ 4,800 was drained from the account.

According to police obtained by Action News, from 2017 to 2021, more than 3,000 crimes were reported in Philadelphia hospitals, with thefts accounting for more than 38% of them.

Most thefts were at Temple University Hospital with 318, followed by the University of Pennsylvania Hospital with 157.

“If they’re brave enough to go to an ATM where there are video cameras at their workplace, then what else are they stealing?” Maurice asked.

There are no indications that a HUP employee committed the thefts, but the hospital’s ATM was used to steal money for several days.

“Patient thefts happen, and it’s unfortunate because you have a very vulnerable person who becomes a victim, and it’s usually a crime of opportunity,” said Paul Sarnes, a member of the International Association for Safety and Health Safety. a nonprofit organization that deals with hospital security.

He also oversees the security of the Virtua Health Network.

Sarnes said annual research by his organization showed that after a pandemic, thefts at hospitals across the country are declining.

“I really think it’s because fewer people are coming to our facilities.”

Sarnes said investigating thefts in hospitals is usually difficult due to a lack of inquiries and information.

“It is very difficult to determine whether something was really taken away, disposed of improperly, or taken by a family member,” he said.

But that doesn’t seem to be the case with Ronda Morris ’mother, and she wants answers.

“If you pull the video, you’ll find out who it is. It’s that simple. And I just felt like no one even cared. I don’t know why?” said Maurice.

HUP has issued a statement to Action News stating:

“While we cannot comment on specific situations, we have robust security procedures in place to store any valuable items that patients bring to our hospitals, and we take all reports of lost or stolen items seriously.”

Temple told Action News that he is very serious about patient safety and is taking steps to minimize losses and thefts.

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