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Police: Maryland woman attempted to steal medical equipment from National Institute of Health

Posted at 8:01 PM, Aug 28, 2019
and last updated 2019-08-28 20:01:34-04

BETHESDA, Md. — A Maryland woman was arrested after she was suspected off attempting to steal medical equipment including vials containing antibodies, a box containing human peptides as well as other sensitive items at the National Institute of Health in Bethesda.

According to an affidavit provided by the Department of Justice, the defendant, identified as Chinyere Okunji was reported entering the clinical center at the hispital on Wednesday, August 21. Personnel reported that the woman was wearing a white lab coat and acting suspiciously.

Documents say that Okunji was carrying a number of white plastic patient bags containing items belonging to NIH.

When she was confronted, she said at different times that she was a doctor, was going to see a patient, was with the phlebotomy lab and was with another clinic.

Police arrived at the scene and found the woman in the 4D corridor of the hospital attempting to open hospital freezers which are kept locked and may only be accessed by authorized hospital employees.

The affidavit continues Okunji had in her possession: "a rack of vials containing antibodies that are subject to contamination if not properly stored in a freezer; a box containing human peptides that must be refrigerated and had been stolen from a medical researcher; bags of sequencing grade modified trypsin that were taken from a freezer belonging to another medical researcher and were no longer usable; a Covidien Genius 2 Tympanic Thermometer that had been taken from a cart in an operating room; hundreds of slides belonging to the hospital, among other items."