Crime

Former contractor charged with stealing $100,000 in equipment from Franciscan Health

Justin Robert Pace’s contract to work for Franciscan Health Care ran out in July, but somebody at the health care provider forgot to deactivate and collect the ID badge he used to get into its facilities.

It turned out to be an expensive mistake, Pierce County prosecutors contend.

They say Pace, 32, used the badge to surreptitiously enter Franciscan facilities over more than two months and steal nearly $100,000 in computer equipment.

He was charged Thursday with 18 felonies, including theft, trafficking in stolen property and 14 counts of second-degree burglary. Not guilty pleas were entered on his behalf at his arraignment in Superior Court.

Court Commissioner Meagan Foley ordered Pace jailed in lieu of $60,000 bail, which he posted Friday, court records show.

The Tacoma resident worked as a contract worker for a local IT company last year when he was assigned to a job at Franciscan, court records show. The job ran from August 2013 to July 2014.

Because of an “internal miscommunication,” he was allowed to hold on to the ID badge that let him into secure areas of the Franciscan Health System, including St. Joseph Medical Center and the Regence building on Broadway Avenue in Tacoma, the records show.

Deputy prosecutor April McComb wrote in charging papers that Pace used the badge more than two dozen times at at least three facilities, stealing nearly 40 computers, three 21-inch monitors, 34 scanners and a overhead projector.

Surveillance cameras captured Pace entering the buildings and walking away with cardboard boxes, court records show.

A Franciscan employee discovered Pace’s badge was still live in October, deactivated the ID and put an alert on it. The thefts were quickly connected to him.

Pace allegedly admitted to the thefts, court records show. He told detectives he sold the stolen equipment to another man, who paid him nearly $5,000 over three occasions.

“The defendant said that he had developed a pill addiction and used approximately $60 to $100 worth of pills a day,” McComb wrote in the charging papers.

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