Fake Priest Robs Kilgore Hospital Patients - KLTV.com - Tyler, Longview, Jacksonville |ETX News

7/13/07-Longview

Fake Priest Robs Kilgore Hospital Patients

       A man dressed as a priest entered Laird Hospital in Kilgore Monday to minister to people there, and no one checked his credentials because, who would question a priest? 

 "It was definitely unique I haven't seen it before somebody posing as a priest," said Kilgore Police Sergeant Roman Roberson. 

   "The problem was while he was in the room visiting with patients he was stealing from them, wallets credit cards," Roberson said.

    The suspect in this case was very bold , he walked into the hospital calmly and confidently pretending to be a priest but intending to prey upon the patients.      Witnesses say he had a distinct northern accent, and spoke and prayed with patients, then he preyed on them stealing wallets and credit cards.

    "How low can you get I mean really, you've got someone posing as a priest praying on people that are sick elderly in the hospital and stealing from them?" says Roberson.

    "It was total outrage on that part of all of our staff, that a person would take advantage of a person in that condition is just abominable," said Laird Hospital administrator Bob Ellzey.

     We're told he robbed a 78 year old female patient, the disappeared from the hospital and was later seen cashing in, buying $800 worth of gift certificates at a local pharmacy. The hospital immediately call law enforcement and notified area hospitals. Area clergy are angry that the imposter has committed another crime, against faith.

   "The next time you see somebody in a collar the doubts are already there it's ruined some of that built in trust that, that collar had come to represent" said Saint Michael's Episcopal Church Minister Jeff Richardson.

    Now police say they are trying to catch him before he does it again.

    "I'd like to know who he is if somebody knows who he is or if this has happened in another town, city or another hospital I'd sure like to hear about it" Roberson says.

      The suspect in the case is described as a big man, 6'2" weighing about 270 pounds, with shaggy brown hair. Laird has notified every hospital and law enforcement agency in our area of the theft. Anyone with information in this case is asked to call Kilgore Police.

Bob Hallmark, Reporting bhallmark@kltv.com

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