Employees at Beaumont Royal Oak on lookout for thief in their midst

Several items reported missing from places employees considered safe

By Rod Meloni - Reporter, CFP ®, Derick Hutchinson

ROYAL OAK, Mich. - Hospital security officials and Royal Oak police officers are working together to find out why personal belongings are disappearing at Beaumont Royal Oak.

Employees at the hospital are on the lookout for a thief in their midst. Several items have gone missing from places they thought were safe, and police are trying to find out who is responsible.

Royal Oak police said they're trying to attack the small crimes before they turn into big ones.

Beaumont Royal Oak's sprawling campus is getting larger, and the security issues are growing with it. In the past week and a half, someone has been raiding an employee room, stealing backpacks, wallets, watches and other unattended items.

"Wallets and things like that are being taken from an area inside the hospital that's relatively just kind of concentrated for employees only," said Lt. Keith Spencer, who runs the Royal Oak Police Department Criminal Investigation Unit.

Police reports said the problem is in two areas without security cameras: a break room and a locker room.

There wasn't much stolen in terms of cash, but people are worried their licenses and credit cards are in someone else's hands.

Spencer said it's easily preventable by staying alert wherever you are.

"Prevention is a big start on you helping to keep your items secure, and you know these items, from my understanding, were left behind in unsecured areas that are pretty well open," Spencer said.

Outside the hospital Friday, Local 4 bumped into CAT scan tech Cathy Nitz, who said she hasn't heard about the thefts. She said while the atmosphere isn't charged with such concerns, she is careful.

"Do you worry about leaving things out in the hospital?" Local 4's Rod Meloni asked.

"Not really, because when my stuff is gone, I'm right there," Nitz said. "I keep it in the locker room."

The hospital released the following statement about the thefts:

"Keeping our campuses and sites safe and secure is a responsibility we take seriously. We work with our employees on safety precautions, including providing ways to keep their personal property secure. We have close relationships with local law enforcement and are working with the Royal Oak Police to identify the thief and attempt to recover the missing items."

Two of the thefts were reported Monday and another was reported in the middle of last week.

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