- Associated Press - Friday, January 8, 2016

SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (AP) - A former nurse at a Massachusetts hospital has pleaded guilty to stealing powerful prescription painkillers meant for patients to feed his own addiction, and replacing the stolen drugs with saline solution.

Daniel Herlocker, who worked at Baystate Franklin Medical Center in Greenfield, pleaded guilty in federal court in Springfield on Thursday to obtaining controlled substances by deception and subterfuge.

Prosecutors say the 41-year-old Brattleboro, Vermont, resident withdrew morphine and hydromorphone from an automated dispensing machine at the hospital in the fall of 2014. The hospital started investigating when another nurse noticed apparent tampering.

Herlocker faces up to four years in prison at sentencing scheduled for March 31.

He apologized in court.

The hospital said there is no evidence any patients were harmed by Herlocker’s actions.

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