Video: Theft of cell phones at Carmel Hospital (investigation file)
A series of thefts of cell phones and valuable property from patients in Haifa hospitals was cut short two weeks ago when police arrested 42-year-old Krayot resident Gili Bogen. Last Thursday, the coastal district police prosecutor filed an indictment against him in the city's magistrate's court.
The indictment accuses Bogen of theft at several different hospitals in the city. At Rambam Hospital, he used to wander around in the early morning. On Saturday, May 6, at around 03:00 A.M., the orthopedic department stole a phone and 500 shekels belonging to a patient from Acre and a cell phone belonging to a patient from Tamra. Workers spotted him and alerted the hospital's security guards, who detained him until the police arrived. He was interrogated at the Haifa police station, confessed, returned the theft and was released on condition that he not go near Rambam Hospital for 15 days.
Indeed, he kept his distance from Rambam – but moved to other hospitals in the city. A day later, he was already suspected of similar activity at Bnei Zion Hospital in the city, which ultimately did not crystallize into an indictment. But at Carmel Hospital, he is accused of stealing a phone and wristwatch from a dresser next to a patient in the neurological ward, and in the orthopedic ward stealing a cell phone and two credit cards.
Security personnel confront the accused of stealing (Photo: official website, none)
One of the phones Bogen stole was stored at a cellphone store in Hadar Hacarmel, where the device was purchased for 400 shekels. The store owner shared the security camera footage in the store with the police, and at the Haifa station they immediately identified Bogen.
Bogen, who lives in Kiryat Motzkin, is a well-known drug addict and admitted during interrogation that he was under the influence of heroin when he was captured at Carmel Hospital in the city. He explained his actions in part due to financial hardship from having to pay for his use of drugs, heroin and crystal. He has three previous convictions and served a prison sentence in 2015.
On May 18, Bogen was caught stealing a valuable iPhone from a patient in the urology department at Carmel. Police and hospital security guards pursued a chase in the courtyard of the compound, but managed to evade them and jump over the wall into the nearby street. He managed to escape to the Horev shopping center in the city, where he was caught by the police.
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The confrontation spilled over outside the hospital (Photo: official website, none)
Since then, no complaints of other similar incidents have been received from the city's hospitals, but investigators know it's only a matter of time. In Haifa there are a number of "serial thieves" who manage time after time to infiltrate the city's hospital and steal valuable things from patients, visitors and medical staff.
"We will study the investigation file and respond in court," LaValle said. Adv. Lior Bar Zohar, who represents Gili Bogen on behalf of the Public Defender's Office. Meanwhile, with his consent, yesterday at the Haifa Magistrate's Court, Judge Ihsan Halabi ordered the remand extended until another decision.
"The acts were carried out frequently, day after day," claims the prosecutor, Superintendent Shira Levy-Cohen, who requested an extension of his detention.
"We are fighting this phenomenon with all the means at our disposal", Director of the Security Department at Rambam Hospital (Photo: official website, Rambam Hospital)
"He acted systematically and repeatedly, in each of the hospitals he entered, and did not shy away from stealing from terminally ill patients, taking advantage of the fact that sometimes they were sleeping or not in their room," he told Walla! Haifa Station Investigator Sgt. Rotem Toledano: "He did not spare terminally ill patients. On the contrary, they were easy prey for him."
"You have to be suspicious," Toledano advises hospitalized patients and relatives accompanying them, "the phone should be kept modest so that it is not visible to all."
"This is a despicable phenomenon of theft from hospitalized patients, some of whom are helpless," said LaValle Benny Keller, director of Rambam Hospital's security department. The hospital is entirely equipped with cameras, overt and covert security personnel operate there around the clock and we have excellent cooperation with the police. In the case at Rambam, we managed to apprehend the suspect with the stolen property and handed him over to the police."
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