License revoked, drugs and syringes seized from Liberty nursing home

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Two people are facing charges and a personal care home owner's license was revoked after police found stolen medication and more than 200 coffee cans containing used syringes there this week, police said.

All 29 residents of Liberty Manor Personal Care in Liberty had to move to other facilities Monday, when the Pennsylvania Department of Welfare issued an emergency relocation order as a result of the findings.

Borough police Officer Ray Johnson said a Liberty Manor employee told police last week that a supervisor at the facility was stealing medication that been prescribed for a former resident, prompting two police searches that turned up much more.

The personal care home was already on the state's radar after three inspections since October uncovered several violations, some of which were repeat offenses.

Officer Johnson said the facility had various public welfare violations in 2011.

"But he always seemed to find his way to get out of them," he said of its owner, William Garvin.

Mr. Garvin could not be reached.

Police on Sunday served a search warrant at the McKeesport home of the supervisor, where officers said they found nearly 100 Klonopin pills, used to treat anxiety and seizures, 10 Vicodin in a plastic bag and a hundred 650-milligram Tylenol pills. Officer Johnson said the supervisor, a woman, split the pills with the employee, the employee told police.

The pills were taken from a female resident, Officer Johnston said.

Officer Johnson served a search warrant at the personal care home Sunday and said authorities found inside Mr. Garvin's desk drawer "multiple prescriptions" that had belonged to the female resident.

Police also found 24 cans of old syringes in Mr. Garvin's office. Later, police also found 238 coffee cans of old syringes in a back room of the office, as well as 2,000 prescription pills from current and former residents, Officer Johnson said.

The residents were relocated to more than six different facilities and some also are now living with family members, said Allegheny County Department of Human Services spokeswoman Elaine Plunkett.

"How would you feel if you lived there for how many years, and you've got to move out of here?" Officer Johnson said. "They were a little confused about what was going on."

Officer Johnson said charges are pending against two people he would not identify. He expects to obtain arrest warrants early next week.

Violations in 2012 and 2013 included: blocked emergency exits, space heater use in resident room, combustibles near heating sources and in smoking area, unsafe bedside lighting, unlabeled poisonous materials, black mold in the basement area, walls with paint and plaster peeling, overflowing dumpster with trash on ground, and incomplete assessments and support plans.

Liberty police were assisted this week by the Pennsylvania attorney general's office and the Allegheny County police narcotics unit.

neigh_south

Molly Born: mborn@post-gazette.com or 412-263-1944 or on Twitter @borntolede.


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