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Nurse Charged in Patient Thefts

Emergency-room worker at Kaiser Permanente in Riverside is accused of stealing valuables, including credit cards and jewelry.

August 01, 2003|Joy L. Woodson | Times Staff Writer

An emergency-room nurse faces three felony charges in the theft of driver's licenses, credit cards and jewelry from patients at Kaiser Permanente Medical Center in Riverside, according to police.

Gemma Yuman, 34, a licensed vocational nurse, was taken into custody at her home in San Bernardino and booked at Robert Pressley Detention Center on July 11, said Sgt. Leon Phillips.

Police believe Yuman was involved in at least eight thefts from patients, one of whom had died.

Yuman pleaded not guilty at an arraignment July 15.

She was released July 19 on $5,000 bail.

Her next court appearance is Aug. 22, when a judge will decide if Yuman will stand trial.

The hospital was first alerted when family members of a deceased patient returned to collect valuables they were assured were locked in a safe.

The family complained that jewelry valued at $20,000 had been stolen inside the hospital, said Kaiser Permanente spokesman James Gilkerson.

"We conducted an internal investigation using our own resources and then turned over information to the Riverside Police Department," he said.

According to the criminal complaint, the thefts occurred between May 13 and July 11. Police are investigating whether additional thefts might have occurred.

Gilkerson declined to comment on Yuman's current employment status or her exact position at the hospital.

Yuman is charged with three felony counts of identity theft and two counts of petty theft.

If convicted on all counts, she could face five years in state prison, said Ingrid Wyatt, public information officer for the Riverside district attorney's office.

Yuman's public defender, Judith Gweon, could not be reached for comment.

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