Court records detail how a nurse at Brookside Nursing Home allegedly stole morphine from a dying man and how authorities investigated the case.

Susan Pierce, age not noted, Wells River, was arrested Thursday on charges of drug theft and elder abuse. She pleaded innocent in Orange District Court.

A court affidavit claims the investigation started Oct. 5, when Tom Rice, owner of the nursing home, reported to the Vermont Attorney General & #039;s Office he believed someone was stealing narcotics.

Investigators installed two hidden video cameras. One went into a supply room where narcotics are kept.

The other camera was put in the private room of an 81-year-old patient who was terminally ill, was in severe pain, and who had a morphine pump attached to him to administer pain medicine.

The affidavit alleges that between Nov. 29 and Dec. 3, the video camera caught Pierce using a syringe to extract morphine from the pump.

The court records state that the patient, identified only by initials, died Dec. 3.

According to the affidavit, investigators had the head nurse at Brookside and then a nurse who is a specialist in morphine pumps review the surveillance tape soon after the patient died.

Both nurses reportedly said there was absolutely no reason why a syringe should be used on the morphine pump equipment.

The affidavit goes on to state that an investigator interviewed Pierce at her home on Wednesday and showed her the tape.

"It was time for this to stop; this has got to end," she is quoted as saying at the end of the interview.

Pierce faces up to 31/2 years in prison if convicted of both counts.

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