MAYWOOD, Ill. (STMW) — A nurse at a west suburban hospital stole the identity of a patient, opened several credit accounts in the woman’s name and purchased thousands of dollars worth of clothing, police said.

Katrina R. Spears, 32, of the 5700 block of South Calumet Avenue in Chicago, was charged Sunday with felony identity theft, according to Riverside police.

On Aug. 27, a 50-year-old Riverside woman told police that after undergoing a medical procedure at Loyola University Medical Center in Maywood, she started having financial problems.

When she tried to buy allergy medication in July, she was told her name was on a “no-buy list.” A few weeks later, she received a notice from Nordstrom’s that she was denied credit. But since she never applied for a credit card, she filed a report with police, police said.

Several banks and clothing stores contacted the woman over the next few weeks about credit accounts being opened or products being purchased online, including thousands of dollars worth of clothing.

The woman then recalled that while being treated at Loyola, a nurse had mentioned her clothing and they’d had a conversation about fashion as she filled out her paperwork, police said.

Investigators learned the clothing had been delivered to a home in the 5700 block of South Calumet Avenue and, working with the Loyola security and IT departments, traced the computer transactions to a specific IP address at the hospital.

Using password and log-in information, they narrowed the search to Spears, who was arrested when she arrived at the hospital Friday, according to police, who said the address on her driver’s license was the same as the delivery address for the merchandise.

Riverside Police Chief Thomas Weitzel said in the statement that detectives are “still attempting to assist the victim in clearing her name through the credit organizations” and he lauded Loyola staff with “assisting in the investigation and aggressively advocating for the patient…”

The investigation is ongoing, but Weitzel said it appears to be an isolated incident.

Spears was ordered held on a $10,000 bond and a preliminary hearing is set for Sept. 16 in Maywood.

(Source: Sun-Times Media Wire © Chicago Sun-Times 2013. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)

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