WEATHERLY -- Authorities in Carbon County arrested a nurse who they believe stole pills meant for residents of a nursing home.
Keri McArdle, 29, of Palmerton is charged with theft and drug charges.
The arrest on Thursday came after police say she was caught last month with prescription drugs in her backpack, drugs that were prescribed to other people at her nursing home in Weatherly.
McArdle was charged at a magistrate's office in Carbon County Thursday night. She is accused of stealing prescription drugs like Oxycodone and Percocet from the patients at Weatherwood Nursing Home in Weatherly.
"She was signing medications out that she was supposed to give to other residents that needed it and she would not give it to them and she would keep it for herself," said Weatherly Police Sgt. Michael Bogart.
Police say McArdle was caught with the drugs after she was stopped for a traffic stop in Jim Thorpe.
A coworker at the nursing home had also noticed a pack of pills in McArdle's bag.
Police say they searched the backpack and found the drugs and a syringe. Investigators say the nurse then admitted to taking medication since November from five patients at the nursing home.
Police are now speaking with doctors and looking through medical records to see if there was any long-term effects on the patients from the missing prescription medications.
"Some of the them might not be in the state, to actually tell their care providers that were up there that they did not get their medication or that actually they are in pain," said Sgt. Bogart.
Administrators from Weatherwood Nursing Home would not speak on camera but in a written statement said that the facility has taken additional steps to ensure the health and safety of its residents.
"Mad and upset to think that you have these people that are care-dependent, that are relying on this medication that could be somebody's mother, brother, sister, and they're not getting their required medication," Sgt. Bogart added.
McArdle is no longer working at the nursing home. But the state has not answered our questions about the status of her nursing license.
If police find the missing medication did affect the patients medically, McArdle could face more charges. She is now locked up in the Carbon County jail.