Convention Center public safety director stole 80 N95 masks from field hospital
NEW ORLEANS - According to the New Orleans Advocate, the public safety director for the New Orleans’ Ernest N. Morial Convention Center stole 80 masks that were meant for health care workers to battle against COVID-19.
Vernon Giscombe, 58, was arrested Friday after a state Department of Public Safety officer witnessed a woman putting two boxes in a silver car around 11 p.m. Friday night. The officer stopped the car and learned that the driver was Giscombe and that the woman worked for the convention center’s public safety department.
Giscombe and the woman allegedly told the officer that Giscombe instructed her to put the two boxes containing 20 N95 masks each into his car.
According to troopers, Giscombe admitted that he got another employee to bring him two boxes of masks carrying 20 each earlier that day.
According to the New Orleans Advocate, Troopers found the boxes at Giscombe’s home after he gave authorities permission to search. He was booked with allegedly failing to perform his duties to the public lawfully.
Giscombe could face up to five years in prison with a maximum fine of $5,000 if he is convicted of malfeasance.
The New Orleans’ Ernest N. Morial Convention Center has been transformed into a field hospital and will begin to take in COVID-19 patients on Monday, April 6 who are well enough to leave hospitals but not well enough to go home.
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