A 54-year-old Pennsylvania man has been arrested, accused of stealing more than $350,000 worth of human skin from a Philadelphia hospital over the course of several years. According to NBC Philadelphia, Gary Dudek was charged with theft and tampering with records after investigators say he swiped skin grafts from Mercy Philadelphia Hospital between November 2011 and July 2013.
Police began their investigation in January of 2014, only after Hospital officials conducted an audit of their finances, during which they discovered that the skin grafts were missing. Investigators say Dudek was a sales rep for Organogenesis, which specializes in regenerative medicine technologies and has the ability to “deliver living, cell-based products to accelerate the body’s own natural healing process and enhance the body’s inherent ability to repair and regenerate.”
During his seven year employment at Organogenesis, Dudek managed accounts for Mercy Hospital’s bio-science department, according to police. Part of his responsibilities included providing the hospital with skin grafts. Investigators say Dudek had the authority via an “open purchase order” to order skin grafts on behalf of the hospital, at his discretion. According to police, he made several unauthorized purchases on Mercy’s behalf, but kept the skin grafts, leaving the hospital a $357,000 bill for grafts it never received.
What’s more, police say surveillance footage captured the suspect on two separate occasions taking skin grafts from the hospital and placing them in his car. Police have not yet identified motive nor have they located the missing grafts.
Dudek faces 3 felony charges. He was released on Tuesday after posting 10 percent of his $10,000 bond.
Grafts are used to transplant healthy skin to areas where skin has been severely damaged.