Former Eye Doctor Employee Charged with Theft

PALMYRA TOWNSHIP -- A woman from Wayne County was supposed to be charging money for eyeglasses and contact lenses at the eye doctor. Instead, police said she was giving away the eyewear at no charge to friends and family. Now, she's charged with theft.

The former employee at Lakeside Vision near Lake Wallenpaupack was fired a couple of months ago but not before giving away roughly $18,000 worth of glasses, contacts, and more for the past seven years, according to Hawley police.

It's taken years for a theft case to come into focus at the eye doctor's office near Hawley.

Barbara Tyson, 51, of Hawley, faces more than two dozen charges related to stealing eyeglasses and contact lenses.

Tyson gave the glasses and contacts to family and friends, according to a police affidavit. In some cases, officers said it was to pay for her own debt.

"It's pretty sad people have to stoop down to that level in order to exchange stuff for free," said Gina Annunziata of Massachusetts.

Outside the eye doctor's office, people were appalled by the allegations against Tyson, who worked for Lakeside Vision at least since 2010.

"To screw your owners is really a bad thing, I think it's a shame," said Angela Grisafi of Lackawaxen.

Tyson was only caught when a fellow employee at Lakeside Vision questioned her on a bill. When Tyson finally confessed she gave away free eyeglasses to an electrician to do work at her own home, that's when the owners took the case to the authorities, said court papers.

The owners of Lakeside Vision wouldn't comment on the case.

Tyson even faked bills to make it look like insurance or coupons covered it, according to court papers. In all, roughly $18,000 is unaccounted for, but only about $12,000 of that is covered under the statute of limitations.

Tyson is expected back in court later this month. It does not appear she is accused of violating any patient privacy laws.

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