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Ex-hospital worker faces federal trial on painkiller thefts

Published: Thursday, Oct. 5, 2017 12:11 p.m. CDT

DES MOINES (AP) — A former Des Moines hospital pharmacy worker accused of stealing painkillers from hundreds of patients has been arraigned on federal charges.

The U.S. Attorney’s Office in Des Moines says Victor Van Cleave was in court Wednesday, charged with to face two criminal counts: tampering with consumer products and obtaining fentanyl by misrepresentation, fraud, deception and subterfuge.

Officials say Van Cleave was a pharmacy technician at Iowa Methodist Medical Center who used a syringe to steal fentanyl and other powerful painkillers from vials, then replaced them with sterile water. Many of the painkillers were to be used for patients undergoing surgery or giving birth.

Van Cleave could face up to 14 years in prison if convicted. His trial is set for Dec. 4.