GREENSBURG (KDKA) – A woman is facing charges for allegedly breaking into Westmoreland Hospital to steal soda.
According to the criminal complaint, Katie Ziegler, 28, of Greensburg, entered the hospital by prying open a security door in the parking garage on two occasions.
“I was thirsty, and it was really late at night, and there are no convenience stores really in my neighborhood,” Ziegler said. “I just thought I’d get some soda. I didn’t think it was this big deal.”
The first incident happened on June 21, while the second incident happened on July 2.
“They had two incidents on their video camera, on June 21 and July 2, where a female entered the hospital through a door that was supposed to be locked from the parking garage,” said Greensburg Police Capt. Robert Stafford.
Surveillance footage reportedly shows Ziegler enter the cafeteria and ICU conference rooms. Ziegler allegedly gained entry to the ICU by guessing the access code.
“I guess it was an ICU unit, and somehow she was able to guess the code and enter into it,” said Capt. Stafford.
On both occasions, Ziegler leaves the hospital with a backpack, which appeared to be more full than when she entered.
“I’ve known lots of my friends that went to the hospital to a secret room to get sodas,” Ziegler told KDKA.
Police were able to identify her from the surveillance video and went to her home in order to question her about the incidents.
During questioning, Ziegler said she wanted “to get some free drinks.”
“I live by it. I go to the cafeteria all the time, get food all the time. I didn’t think nothing of it. I wasn’t going in there stealing their electronics and their televisions,” said Ziegler.
She is now being charged with criminal trespass and theft by unlawful taking.
She says she regrets her actions and is worried the charges could impact her going back to school for paralegal studies.
“I was just trying to like take care of me and my family,” she said.
Ziegler is scheduled to appear in court for a preliminary hearing on Aug. 16.
Excela Health responded in a statement, saying in part, that their security plan is solid, and “we have few incidents of significance that we manage,” and add that this incident being caught on surveillance cameras is evidence that their system is working.