HUPD Identifies Suspect in X-Ray Theft

Suspect stole more than 1,000 x-rays from Harvard University Health Services

A 24-year-old Virginia man has been identified as a suspect in last month's theft of more than 1,000 x-rays from Harvard University Health Services.

The Harvard University Police Department identified John L. Mitchell as the suspect on Thursday after two weeks of active investigation.

Mitchell was apprehended in Newburyport on Sept. 8 for a string of x-ray thefts from medical facilities across Massachusetts and New Hampshire, according to the Daily News of Newburyport.

On Aug. 31, Mitchell allegedly posed as an employee for an x-ray removal company that HUHS hires to dispose of and recycle x-ray films, according to a statement on the HUHS website released Friday.

After the suspect posing as the company left Harvard premises, HUHS and the vendor made contact and learned that the individual who had come to remove the x-rays was in fact not an employee of the company, wrote Nanci Martin, Harvard director of communications and marketing in an email to The Crimson.

Officials say the films might have been taken for the silver contained in the film, which can be extracted using a chemical solution and sold at $41.48 an ounce, the Newburyport Daily News reported.

The stolen x-rays from HUHS were from 2004 and 2005 and contained images of bone fractures, according to the HUHS statement. Though patient information, including name, age, and medical record number, was located on the stolen x-ray films, officials do not believe it was the motive for the theft.

In the statement, HUHS said it will notify any potentially affected patients.

Mitchell and accomplice Gabby Miller, 37, were arraigned on Sept. 9 at Newburyport District Court. They are being charged with conspiracy and larceny from a building, and Mitchell additionally for drug possession, the Daily News of Newburyport reported. They are being held on $5,000 and $10,000 cash bail respectively.

—Tara W. Merrigan contributed to the reporting for this story.

—Staff writer Xi Yu can be reached at xyu@college.harvard.edu.

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