DES MOINES, Iowa — A former Des Moines hospital pharmacy worker accused of stealing painkillers from hundreds of patients has pleaded guilty to product tampering.

The Des Moines Register reports that 29-year-old Victor Van Cleave entered the plea Monday. In exchange, prosecutors will drop a charge of obtaining fentanyl by misrepresentation, fraud, deception and subterfuge. His sentencing is scheduled for July 10.

Officials say Van Cleave was a pharmacy technician at Iowa Methodist Medical Center who used a syringe to steal fentanyl and other powerful painkillers from vials, then replaced the painkillers with sterile water. Many of the painkillers were to be used for patients undergoing surgery or giving birth.

Several lawsuits subsequently were filed against the hospital by former patients who say they suffered needless pain because of the theft of their medications.

Information from: The Des Moines Register,

Author photo
The AP is one of the largest and most trusted sources of independent newsgathering. AP is neither privately owned nor government-funded; instead, as a not-for-profit news cooperative owned by its American newspaper and broadcast members, it can maintain its single-minded focus on newsgathering and its commitment to the highest standards of objective, accurate journalism.