Westerville News & Public Opinion

Police beat

Westerville: Woman charged with stealing co-worker's meds

A Gahanna woman was arrested and charged with felony theft of drugs for reportedly stealing six prescription bottles and their contents from a co-worker at a business in the 300 block of Polaris Parkway, Westerville police said.

A co-worker reported that Karen J. Passero, 48 of Vista Drive in Gahanna, was the only person to have access to the prescription medications that were missing from the co-worker's purse when she returned from lunch Aug. 8.

When Westerville police arrived at the scene, a supervisor told them that Passero was demonstrating indications of being under the influence of something, and the co-worker suspected Passero had stolen her medications.

Other co-workers had seen Passero going into the restroom multiple times after lunch with her purse in hand.

Police confronted her about the matter and she denied taking the pills, but when officers searched her purse, they found multiple bottles of medication with her co-worker's name on them.

Among the suspected stolen pills were medications to treat anxiety, blood pressure issues and urinary tract infections.

Before being taken into custody by police, Passero's supervisor asked her to submit to a drug test. She refused, and under the terms of her employment was fired on the spot, police reports said.

On the way out of the building, Passero attempted to throw five additional pill bottles into the restroom trash can while police weren't looking, reports said. She was then arrested for theft and tampering with evidence, and was transported to the Delaware County jail.

In other recent incident reports from the Westerville Division of Police:

• Employees at an Old County Line Road health-care facility reported seven hydrocodone pills missing Aug. 8.

Two employees counted the narcotic pain pills and found seven missing from a prescription belonging to a patient in the facility, police reports said.

One employee responsible for inaccurately signing for the pills was sent home and placed on suspension, but no suspects have been listed or arrests made.

• Two neighbors who live in the 100 block of Allview Drive and the 500 block of Braxton Place East reported leaf blowers and other lawn equipment stolen from their residences Aug. 4.

One neighbor noticed two missing leaf blowers and called the other to see if he had borrowed them. At that point, both men realized the items had been taken and alerted police. The combined value of the items is about $1,200, reports said.