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Alleged hospital thefts lead to charges 

An Atascadero State Hospital (ASH) employee faces charges for allegedly pinching expensive pieces of machinery from the state facility. Forty-three-year-old equipment manager Beverly Wright pleaded not guilty to four counts of felony possession of stolen property and a misdemeanor marijuana charge.

During a Dec. 6 hearing, presiding judge Dodie Harman scheduled the prelim for Jan 22.

Court records indicate that ASH's Department of Police Services went hunting for the allegedly pilfered wares when the defendant's ex-boyfriend told investigators Wright's house was stocked with hospital property. The allegedly stolen goods included computer parts, large gardening equipment, power tools, kitchen appliances, and furniture totaling an unknown dollar amount.

Some of the items even sported ASH identification tags, according to the report.

Wright's attorney, San Luis Obispo-based Thomas McCormick, refused to comment on the case.

Court dockets show that Wright was previously fined for misdemeanor possession in 1992 and 1994. She also had a pair of subsequent DUI convictions. The state hospital's human resources department, which reported that it thoroughly screens all applicants, responded that Wright's prior convictions were not of a violent nature or indicative of a lack of moral turpitude two considerations that arise when looking at an applicant's criminal history.

"It's reviewed on a case-by-case basis," said ASH spokesperson Barrie Hafler. "The charges on file would not outright disqualify her."


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