As NBC News reported, the NYPD said that 43-year-old Danielle Conti took the credit card from a patient being treated at Staten Island University Hospital. The patient, 70-year-old Anthony Catapano, later died from complications of COVID-19, a week after he had been taken to the hospital after falling ill.
As WABC reported, the hospital released a statement saying they would be working closely with the police who are investigating the alleged theft, and that Conti is on leave and could be fired.
“Danielle Conti has been temporarily suspended and faces termination in response to the felony charges,” the statement read. “We are working closely with the law enforcement authorities and the hospital is conducting its own investigation. Ms. Conti has been an employee since 2007.”
The dying man’s daughter, Tara Catapano, said she learned about the alleged theft after her father’s American Express statement came in the mail weeks after his death and showed a number of gas and grocery purchases made during the time that he was in the hospital.
“From the very beginning, I knew it was a hospital employee. It would have to be,” she said. “But I even told someone, ‘It couldn’t be a doctor or nurse.’ Those words actually left my mouth.”
But Catapano said the police investigation found that it was a nurse, and she was left shocked at the allegation.
“This was someone who was supposed to care for my father,” she told NBC News. “She went in there and gave him his medicine and then, what, went for his wallet? I can’t even wrap my head around it.”
This is not the only coronavirus-related crime story to garner national headlines in recent weeks. Back in April, a 60-year-old nurse who had just recovered from a coronavirus infection was attacked and robbed by a group of teenagers in New York City. As the New York Post reported, the woman was saved by a group of three good Samaritans who yelled at the attackers to stop, prompting them to run away.
Police in New York City and communities across the country have also reported incidents that have been described as potential hate crime attacks, including a number targeting Asian Americans.
In Staten Island, Conti is facing a series of charges including petit larceny, grand larceny, and criminal possession of stolen property.