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Thursday, February 26th, 2009

Not guilty plea entered in painkiller patch theft

By Margie Wuebker
A Rockford woman pleaded not guilty Wednesday morning in Mercer County Common Pleas Court to taking painkiller patches from residents of The Gardens at Celina.
Ashley N. McCarthy, 26, 155 E. Walnut St., faces 11 counts of theft of a dangerous drug, all fourth-degree felonies. The thefts allegedly occurred during November and December when she was employed there as a state-tested nursing assistant.
Ingraham released McCarthy on a $50,000 unsecured bond pending a March 18 pretrial hearing. She must reside with her father, Dewey Hammonds of Fort Jennings. Other sanctions requested by Mercer County Assistant Prosecutor Matt Fox include that she remain on house arrest with the exception of court, counseling and medical appointments. In addition, she must submit to random drug and alcohol tests and stay away from nursing homes.
Procedures in place at the nursing home allowed management to determine there was a problem with unrelieved pain. They, in turn, contacted Celina Police and worked with them to pinpoint who was involved so appropriate action could be taken.
Chief Dave Slusser told The Daily Standard that McCarthy allegedly removed patches from patients residing in the area where she was assigned. He added such medication is applied by trained nurses and not nursing assistants.
McCarthy was arrested on two theft charges in December. However, a grand jury meeting in late January returned an 11-count indictment after hearing evidence in the case. Court paperwork lists two victims - a man and a woman listed only as John and Jane Doe.
Each felony charge carries up to 18 months in prison and a $5,000 fine upon conviction.
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