Nevada man charged with stealing 200 masks from VA hospital, prosecutors say

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A Nevada man was arrested this week for allegedly stealing hundreds of surgical masks from a Veterans Administration medical center, prosecutors announced Wednesday.

Peter Lucas, 35, of Reno, was arrested Tuesday and appeared in court the next day to face charges, said U.S. Attorney Nicholas A. Trutanich for the District of Nevada.

Peter Lucas is accused of stealing surgical masks from a VA hospital last month.

Peter Lucas is accused of stealing surgical masks from a VA hospital last month. (Washoe County Detention Facility)

According to the charges, Lucas stole about 200 surgical masks from a supply cart at the Ioannis A. Lougaris VA Medical Center in Reno.

“Our military veterans served on the front lines to protect our country, and now our health professionals are doing the same in our fight against COVID-19,” said U.S. Attorney Trutanich. “We will not allow the theft of personal protective equipment to go undeterred, endangering the safety of doctors, nurses, and other health professionals protecting our communities.”

Prosecutors say police surveillance cameras at the VA Medical Center showed Lucas stealing at least four boxes of surgical masks from supply carts in his care, then concealed the boxes under his jacket before exiting the hospital between March 19 and March 23, 2020. Each box contained 50 masks.

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Lucas faces one count of theft of health care property. He made his first appearance in court Wednesday before U.S. Magistrate Judge Carla L. Baldwin. If convicted, Lucas faces up to one year in prison and a $100,000 fine.

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The case was investigated by the VA Police Department and is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Peter Walkingshaw.