Man charged after allegedly stealing boxes of masks from VA medical center in Reno

Man charged after allegedly stealing boxes of masks from VA medical center in Reno
© Getty Images

A Nevada man was arrested Tuesday and charged with theft after hundreds of surgical masks were taken from Ioannis A. Lougaris VA Medical Center in Reno amid the coronavirus pandemic.

Peter Lucas, 35, appeared in court on Wednesday and has been charged with one count of theft of health care property.

“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,” U.S. Attorney Nicholas Trutanich said in a statement.

ADVERTISEMENT

“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," he added.

According to surveillance videos, Lucas took at least four boxes of masks between March 19 and March 23, with each box containing 50 masks.

Surgical masks are essential to physicians and medical professionals who are on the front lines fighting against the pandemic.

Lucas is facing up to a year in jail and a $100,000 fine, if convicted.