A nurse anesthetist formerly at Northfield Hospital has been charged with theft after video surveillance caught him stealing and using drugs in the anesthesiologist room.
Craig Robert Hall, 50, is charged in Dakota County with one count of felony theft.
According to the criminal complaint, officers were called to Northfield Hospital on Aug. 30 after a medication inventory found missing narcotics. The hospital launched an internal investigation that included the installation of surveillance cameras in the anesthesiologist room and close monitoring of each anesthesiologist's medication box.
A hospital employee told police that when the electrician was installing the surveillance cameras, they found packaging for a half case of Fentanyl -- a powerful painkiller -- hidden in the ceiling tiles.
On Aug. 23, Hall returned his medication box to the pharmacy 12 mils short of Versed, a drug given to children before anesthesia to cause drowsiness and relieve anxiety.
On Aug. 26, video surveillance caught Hall entering the anesthesiologist room while off-duty and taking something from his medication box. The next day, video showed Hall shoot something into his nose with a syringe.
When interviewed by police on Aug. 31, Hall admitted to stealing one or two vials of medication daily. He said he had been an employee for 14 years and had been stealing drugs on-and-off for about 2 1/2 years.
Hall said he became addicted while taking pain medication daily after having knee surgery. He said he knew taking drugs from the hospital was wrong and that it was a huge mistake.
The drug thefts started with taking leftover amounts after patients were administered their prescribed dosages. Hall denied ever stealing dosages meant for patients and said all patients under his care received their prescribed medications.
Hall said he has worked, or is currently working at, other hospitals in Owatonna and Faribault and said he has stolen medications from those hospitals too, but said it was easier to steal from Northfield.
He told officer he is glad he was caught because he couldn't "go on this way," and that he tried stopping on his own but couldn't.