AP NEWS

Psychiatric Hospital Employee, Wife Charged With Theft

May 9, 2019

An employee at the Clarks Summit State Hospital and his wife sold $20,000 worth of hospital property at a Scranton pawn shop during the winter, state police at Dunmore charged. Christopher and Susanne Mellen, each 47-years-old of 610 N. Bromley Ave., Scranton, are charged with felony receiving stolen property. Criminal complaints filed Wednesday by Trooper Ryan Kearney show the Mellens visited the A1 Scranton Gold & Silver Buyers on Dec. 12 and Feb. 25 to sell dehumidifiers, floor machines, air blowers and other items. They cleared $4,650 on the deals, according to the complaints. A message left with the Mellens’s attorney, listed on a public docket as Charles R. Witaconis, was not returned. A state police investigation remains ongoing, Lackawanna County District Attorney Mark Powell said. On April 3, Trooper Robert Yeager met with the hospital’s chief executive officer, Monica Bradbury, according to the complaints. Bradbury told police a hospital employee reported that numerous items missing from the hospital were at a pawn shop in Scranton. Bradbury also told Yeager that the items were taken there by an employee, Christopher Mellen. The complaints do not make clear exactly how the hospital became aware that Mellen took the items to the pawn shop. Bradbury’s information turned out to be solid, state police said. Yeager went to the pawn shop the next day and found the hospital’s property. The store’s owner, James Finger, told Yeager that Christopher Mellen and his wife came to the store Dec. 12 and sold three Dri-Eaz blowers, three dehumidifiers, one Dri-Eaz extractor, one Tennant carpet cleaner and three Swarovski figurines for $2,150. On Feb. 25, Christopher Mellen came back with more custodial equipment he sold for $2,500. The serial numbers of a floor machine and two dehumidifiers found at the pawn shop matched the serial numbers of those missing from the state hospital. The floor machine and dehumidifiers went back to the hospital. The rest of the items had already been sold and shipped on eBay. Kearney reviewed the pawn shop’s transaction records from those days during an April 24 visit. It was unclear what Christopher Mellen did at the hospital or if he is still employed there. A phone message left Thursday with Bradbury’s office was not returned. Bradbury’s secretary directed inquiries to the state Department of Human Services press office. Erin James, the department’s press secretary, said she could not comment on personnel matters in response to questions regarding his position and if he is still employed. Christopher and Susanne Mellen are free on $20,000 unsecured bail. Preliminary hearings are scheduled for 11 a.m. Wednesday. Contact the writer: jkohut@timesshamrock.com, 570-348-9144; @jkohutTT on Twitter