Police make arrest in string of hospital thefts

By Brittany Pieper – email

SHREVEPORT, LA (KSLA) – Police arrested a man early Friday morning for a string of thefts at a local hospital. They say he stole patients belongings right out of their hospital rooms.

Just after 4 a.m. police responded to a call about a theft at Christus Shumpert Hospital. A family member of a patient woke up early to find a man in their room. The man left as soon as they noticed him, but he didn't leave empty handed. The suspect walked into a patients room in the middle of the night and stole a purse, then the woman's car.

"We broadcast a description of that vehicle out to our patrol officers and just within about 20 minutes officers were able to locate the vehicle," said Bill Goodin with the Shreveport Police Department.

They found the car on Pete Harris drive and arrested William Harrell. Then, they found stolen items that linked him to another theft from Schumpert earlier this week.

The same thing happened to Benjamin Davis and his wife during his stay at Schumpert a few weeks ago.

"I wake up in the middle of the night to a crash and some guy was breaking into our room. Stole her purse and by the time I called security down there he'd already gotten out. Then her car got stolen. Stole the keys out of her purse, stole the car," said Davis.

Davis filed a police report, and police found the stolen car.  Davis says patients shouldn't have to worry about thefts during hospital stay.

"You go to the hospital and you expect to be taken care of. Expect to be safe, you know. They supposedly have security. That wasn't the case in my situation apparently," he said.

"Our investigators are going to be looking at this to determine if Mr. Harrell is responsible for any of these other similar crimes," said Goodin.

Police say when you stay in a public place like a hospital you can help protect your belongings by staying aware.

"It's imperative that you pay attention to your surroundings. Know where your valuables are. All it takes is just one split second for somebody to take something that belongs to you," said Goodin.

KSLA News 12 asked Christus Schumpert about the thefts, but they declined comment.

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