Former Ozark Countian arrested for reportedly stealing epidural meds from woman recovering from birth

Timothy Strain, Photo courtesy of Baxter County Sheriff's Department

Former Ozark County resident Timothy Strain, 35, now living in Lakeview, Arkansas, was arraigned Jan. 24 before Circuit Judge Gordon Webb in Baxter County, Arkansas, court on charges of criminal mischief and breaking and entering. The charges are in connection to an incident in which Strain reportedly broke into an epidural machine dispensing pain medication to his girlfriend, who had recently given birth, in an attempt to steal the drug for himself. 

Strain, a 2001 Gainesville High School graduate, pleaded not guilty. A public defender was appointed; he is scheduled to face a jury in the case on July 15. 

According to the criminal information filed in the case, a Mountain Home (Arkansas) police officer responded to Baxter Regional Medical Center in Mountain Home on Jan. 22, after police received a call from a hospital employee who said a BRMC patient’s boyfriend had damaged hospital property in the obstetrical ward on the hospital’s second floor. The officer met with hospital security officer Josh Fletcher, who told the officer that while Strain was in his girlfriend’s hospital room after she gave birth to their baby, Strain broke into the epidural pump and attempted to steal the pain medication it held. Strain had left the hospital room just prior to the officer’s arrival; however, he came through the hospital doors just as the officer was exiting the elevator, and the officer was able to question him.

Strain reportedly told the officer he accidentally knocked the pump over and was trying to put it back together. 

He was banned from the hospital property and advised not to come back unless it was a medical emergency. 

At 4 p.m. the same day, BRMC staff noticed that another epidural pump and a sharps container filled with used hypodermic needles had been broken into. Needles wrapped in a towel and vials of pain medication wrapped in another towel were found and were suspected to have been stolen from the container by Strain. Girlfriend Jessica Kupcyk told officers that Strain, who has a suspended driver’s license, reportedly left the hospital in her van to drive to a friend’s house in Mountain Home.

Officers drove to the home and found Kupcyk’s van in the driveway. Strain attempted to exit the house from a side door, but officers caught and arrested him. He was taken to the police station for questioning. Kupcyk gave the officers consent to search the van, and officers reportedly found parts from the broken epidural pump inside. 

Damages are estimated to be $6,700 and are listed in court documents to include $2,000 in damages to a SCD machine, $4,000 in damages to epidural pumps, $500 of damage to a lockbox and $200 in damage to a sharps container. 

His bond was amended to a $5,000 cash or professional bond, with the conditions that his residence and employment are verified, that he not violate any additional laws, that he not use, possess or deliver any controlled substances or alcohol, that he have absolutely no contact, directly, through a third party or through internet, phone, email, texting or any other matter, with the victims in the case including Baxter Regional Medical Center. He is also ordered to attend all court appearances, make and effectively communicate all appointments with his attorney and provide his attorney with any discovery necessary for his  defense well before the next court appearance. Failure to abide by the conditions will result in the consideration that Strain is in contempt of court. 

Ozark County Times

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