Four colonoscopes stolen from hospital

Sunday, October 2, 2005

PITTSBURGH -- Apparently, there's a big market out there for used colonoscopes.

Four of the devices used to examine the human colon were lifted from a local hospital -- at a total cost of nearly $104,000.

Authorities say the theft is likely driven by a large overseas market for the devices.

"If you go on the Web and type in 'used endoscopes' or 'used colonoscopes,' you'll find dozens of suppliers selling used equipment," said State College police Detective Ralph Ralston. "It's kind of bizarre."

State police are investigating last weekend's theft from Armstrong County Memorial Hospital in East Franklin Township, about 35 miles north of Pittsburgh.

"We're mystified by it ourselves," said Bud Mitchell, the hospital's director of facilities management.

The hospital is mulling offering a reward. State police said they have no leads.

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