Officials: Woman stole pain patches off 'helpless' patient's body
ELKHORN A former nursing assistant accused of stealing painkiller patches from the body of a Whitewater retirement home patient made her first appearance in Walworth County Court on Tuesday.
Jacqueline E. Stein, 34, of 8924 38th Ave., Kenosha, is accused of taking patches of the painkiller Fentanyl from a patient at Fairhaven Retirement Community, according to a criminal complaint filed in February.
Between Aug. 26 and Sept. 10, employees reported eight patches of Fentanyl missing from one patient, authorities said.
Nurses told police they started taping patches to the female patient’s back to make sure they weren’t falling off accidentally, according to the complaint.
They still came up missing, authorities said.
The patient is non-communicative and could not tell police who was taking her medication, police said.
Whitewater police talked with Stein, who admitted taking three Fentanyl patches from the woman, according to the complaint.
Fentanyl is a “powerful synthetic opiate” that is “similar to but more potent than morphine,” according to the National Institute on Drug Abuse website.
It is used to treat moderate to severe pain and can be habit forming, according to the National Institutes of Health.
Stein told police she knew the patient she stole medication from was in pain and, according to the complaint, “pretty much helpless.”
Lynn Binnie, administrator of operations at Fairhaven, said Stein had been employed as a certified nursing assistant but has not worked at the facility since Sept. 12. He declined to describe how her employment ended.
Online court records show conditions of Stein’s bond are that she have no contact with the patient or with Fairhaven.
Stein is facing one count of theft from a person and one count of possession of narcotic drugs, each of which has an enhancer because of previous misdemeanor convictions on her record.
The charges and enhancers carry a maximum of 17 years and six months in prison.
Stein appeared in court Tuesday afternoon by video from the Walworth County Jail.
Judge John Race initially questioned issuing a signature bond for Stein, noting she failed to show up for a court date in this case March 13.
Assistant public defender Melissa Nepomiachi said Stein, a lifelong Kenosha resident, had moved more than once in the last few years, with the latest move about a year ago.
Nepomiachi said it was possible the court summons was sent to her old address. She verified Stein is now living with her mother in Kenosha.
Race ordered Stein released on a signature bond.
Stein is due back in court Monday, May 13.
WalworthCountyToday.com reporter Margaret Plevak contributed to this story.