Erik Albaverea, a 32-year-old Berwyn resident, has been arrested by authorities and convicted for preying on some of society’s most vulnerable. The suspect was allegedly working at a MacNeal Hospital emergency room which gave him access to patient’s records and addresses. He utilized this information to specifically target and burglarize the homes of patients who were detained at the hospital.
In November, Albavera pleaded guilty to burglarizing the homes of at least 18 senior citizens. He admitted to the Judge that he would intentionally befriend the elderly in emergency rooms, question them about whether they lived alone and inquire about any family in the area. When he found a suitable target, he would burglarize their homes. All 18 victims were widowed females from the hospital.
Victim Dorothy Marker told news reporters that she stayed in the hospital for two weeks. When she returned home, she found her entire household ransacked. It was obvious that the criminal spent ample time searching for valuables throughout the entire home.
Albavera pleaded guilty to all charges, and he was sentenced to ten years behind bars. A lawsuit has been brought forth against the MacNeal Hospital for failing to supervise the employee who had clear access to the patient’s records. Karl Leinberger, the class action attorney pursing the claim, hopes to encourage the hospital to change its policies as a result of the claim. The patient’s financial, medical and personal information needs to be protected. Many hospitals require the patient’s address for insurance or billing purposes, but patients need to be aware of who has access to such personal data.