Gary Dudek, 54, is accused of stealing sheets of lab-grown
skin intended for use in skin-graft surgeries from Mercy
Philadelphia Hospital between November 2011 and July 2013, a
local police spokeswoman said.
The hospital said in a statement that it called the police after
an audit revealed "illegal or improper behavior" from a vendor
supplying the skin, which is artificially grown in a laboratory
out of human skin cells.
Eugene Tinari, Dudek's lawyer, said his client had done "nothing
that amounts to criminality." He called the charges draconian
and said they were better dealt with in a civil rather than
"There's a fine line between misplacing, and errors, and
stealing," he said. "What would he want skin grafts for?" Tinari
declined to go into further detail.
Dudek worked as a sales representative specializing in tissue
regeneration for Organogenesis, a Massachusetts-based biotech
firm that engineers skin tissue for use in grafting.
Skin grafts are typically used to treat disfigurements caused by
severe burns, injuries or disease.
Organogenesis said in a statement that Dudek worked for the
company from 2006 until 2013. It was not immediately clear under
what circumstances he left the medical supplies company, which
declined further comment.
Tinari said it was a "mutual parting of ways" following a
dispute between Dudek and Organogenesis over the Mercy
Philadelphia Hospital skin grafts. "Now Mercy Hospital has
determined that they may be out some money so they're going
after my client," Tinari said.
The motive for the alleged theft remained unclear, according to
Officer Christine O'Brien, the police spokeswoman.
"This is the first incident we've had like this," she said.
Dudek was arrested on Monday at his home in Wallingford,
Pennsylvania, on charges of theft and record-tampering. He has
been released on $10,000 bail. Neither Dudek nor his lawyer
could be reached for comment.
(Reporting by Jonathan Allen; editing by Gunna Dickson and
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