Man allegedly stole sanitizer from hospital for alcohol

An Altoona man faces charges after allegedly confessing to stealing a large amount of hand sanitizer from a hospital.

Lee B. Ammerman, 51, of 1121 20th Ave., Apt. 3, is accused of taking 12 containers of liquid hand sanitizer over the span of several months and allegedly told police he stole them so he could drink them for the alcohol.

“I mix the liquid with orange juice,” Ammerman said after he was detained Jan. 2 at the hospital and questioned about the thefts, according to the affidavit of probable cause filed in the case.

Police said a man matching Ammerman’s description was seen concealing hand sanitizer in an arm sling before leaving the hospital Oct. 21, and on Dec. 10, Ammerman allegedly stole more containers from the sixth floor of the outpatient building.

An employee allegedly saw Ammerman steal hand sanitizer Dec. 23, police said, and police were able to positively identify their suspect as Ammerman on Dec. 24, police noted.

Police said Ammerman was headed to a restroom at the hospital when officers confronted him and asked him to answer some questions about the thefts. Ammerman agreed to speak with police, and after hesitating for a moment, he admitted to stealing the hand sanitizers.

Ammerman said he stole “a large amount” of the containers, worth $6.65 each.

In all, UPMC Altoona is asking for $79.80 to pay for 12 containers and said employees had to replace four to six containers each day in November and December.

Ammerman was charged via summons with misdemeanor theft and receiving stolen property and is due to appear at Central Court for a preliminary hearing Feb. 5.