Pennsylvania man accused in theft of human skin from hospital

Fri May 30, 2014 2:57pm EDT

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May 30 (Reuters) - A Pennsylvania man is facing charges that he stole human skin worth about $350,000 from a Philadelphia hospital over a period of nearly two years, police said.

Gary Dudek, 54, is accused of stealing skin intended for use in skin-graft surgeries from Mercy Philadelphia Hospital between November 2011 and July 2013, a Philadelphia police spokeswoman said.

The hospital called the police after noticing that skin was missing during an audit, according to Officer Christine O'Brien, a police spokeswoman.

She said that Dudek may have had occasion to visit the hospital for his job as a sales director for Organogenesis, a Massachusetts-based biotech firm that engineers tissue for use in grafting out of skin cells.

Organogenesis and Mercy Philadelphia Hospital did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

The motive for the theft was not clear. O'Brien said: "This is the first incident we've had like this."

Dudek was arrested on Monday at his home in Wallingford, Pennsylvania, on charges of theft and record-tampering. He has been released on a $10,000 bail. Neither Dudek nor his lawyer could be reached for comment. (Reporting by Jonathan Allen; editing by Gunna Dickson)

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