State - INACTIVE

Memorial employee suspected of stealing hospital computers

Detectives have arrested a Memorial Medical Center technician suspected of stealing 23 computers from the Modesto hospital, police said Friday.

Atesh Chand, 29, of Modesto was arrested on suspicion of five counts of commercial burglary. He was being held at the Stanislaus County Jail on Friday afternoon.

Chand worked as an orthopedic technician at the hospital.

The computers did not contain any patient information, police said.

On Thursday, Modesto police served a search warrant at Chand’s home in the 600 block of Coralwood Road, a few blocks east of McHenry Avenue in north Modesto.

When officers arrived at his home, Chand ran out the back and tried to hide in a nearby yard, said police spokesman Sgt. Rick Armendariz.

He said the officers found Chand and took him into custody without further incident. Investigators recovered 18 of the 23 computers stolen from the hospital.

The investigation began when hospital staff reported a recent rash of computer thefts to Modesto police investigators.

Armendariz said the computers were stolen from various patients’ rooms and offices throughout the hospital. The computers were only used to access records from the hospital’s main server.

Once they were taken from the hospital, Armendariz said the computers no longer had access to the hospital’s server and did not have patient information stored on them.

He said the investigators worked with hospital administrators and later identified Chand as the suspect who stole the computers.

Police ask anyone with information about these thefts to call Detective Adam Messer at 342-9106 or Crime Stoppers at 521-4636. Tipsters also can e-mail tips through the Crime Stoppers Web site, www.stancrimetips.org, or text tips to CRIMES (274637) by typing “Tip704” plus your message. Callers to Crime Stoppers can remain anonymous and are eligible for a cash reward.

Bee staff writer Rosalio Ahumada can be reached at 578-2394.

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