Former Lurie Children's employee charged for alleged laughing gas theft

A former employee of Chicago-based Ann & Robert H. Lurie Children's Hospital has been charged for alleged theft and sale of 10 tanks of nitrous oxide, commonly known as laughing gas. 

Mitchell Gunther, 39, worked at the hospital as an assistant in charge of its medical tank supply from June 2020 to March 2022, according to a Feb. 16 news release from Illinois Attorney General Kwame Raoul. In March, the hospital launched an investigation after discovering only one tank of nitrous oxide remained attached to its gas supply. Video footage showed Mr. Gunther transporting nitrous oxide to his personal vehicle outside of work hours, leading to his termination, Mr. Raoul alleged. 

After losing his job at Lurie Children's, Mr. Gunther posed as a nitrous oxide delivery driver for Medox, a company that once employed him. He stole two tanks of nitrous oxide from Chicago-based St. Mary's Hospital and replaced them with empty tanks under this guise, according to Mr. Raoul. 

Mr. Raoul charged Mr. Gunther with one count of burglary, two counts of theft over $500 and two counts of possession of nitrous oxide with the intent to deliver. He is set to appear in court March 20. 

"Lurie Children’s takes the safety of our patients, families and team members very seriously," the hospital told Becker's in a statement. "The Lurie Children's Security Director and Investigator worked collaboratively with the FBI which led to a timely resolution of the matter."

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