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Kalamazoo caregiver facing charges after medication theft

KALAMAZOO, Mich. (NEWSCHANNEL 3) - A Kalamazoo caregiver is facing charges after he admitted to stealing pain medication from his patient.

Todd William Werner was arrested on larceny charges, and is accused of taking two of a patient's pain pills at the Center Pointe Recovery Center on Oakland Drive in Kalamazoo.

Werner has been let go from his job, but his patient Zach Lassiter came to Newschannel 3 on Tuesday, saying there's nothing keeping him from getting a similar position elsewhere.

Lassiter says he's now concerned it could happen to others.

"The charge he has is the equivalent of stealing a candy bar," he said.

For Lassiter, it's not the fact that two of his pain pills were stolen, it's the punishment his caregiver will face.

"Not only did he steal my medicine, he falsified my medical records to say he passed that info on to me," he said.

Werner, 54, was fired from Center Pointe Recovery Center, an adult foster care facility, a week later, after he admitted to taking the pills.

He now faces misdemeanor larceny charges.

"I'm pretty sure given the opportunity to do this again, he would," Lassiter said.

A report stated that Werner took two of the pills because they were going to go to waste, and marked in Lassiter's chart that they were for patient, saying this was something he'd never done before.

"He was still, during the investigation, allowed to access controlled meds," Lassiter said.

Lassiter tells Newschannel 3 he is pushing for felony charges to make sure other patients aren't put at risk.

"I think the charges need to fit the crime, so he can't leave the state or get a job in another country," he said.

The Kalamazoo County Prosecutor says they take a lot into account, from previous criminal history to risk to the community, when deciding how to charge any case--something they don't take lightly.

Werner is expected to be formally charged in court on Thursday morning.