New Jersey

Nearly Naked Hospital Patient Breaks Into Home, Steals Car

A Camden County woman wants answers from a local hospital after a patient --wearing only underwear-- broke out of the emergency room and broke into her home Friday morning.

Val Neighbors told NBC10 she was working from her Berlin, N.J. home when she heard the back kitchen window break around 9:30 a.m.

"Glass all over the floor, the screen is hanging and all I can see is from, like, the chest up this man yelling at me, 'Give me the keys! Give me the keys!" Neighbors said.

The suspect then grasped her by the arm and continued to demand keys to her family's vehicle, which was purchased less than a week earlier.

"He grabbed onto my wrist and I noticed he had a hospital ID bracelet on," Neighbors recalled.

She said detectives told her the alleged burglar was recently admitted to nearby Virtua Berlin by his family for a psychiatric evaluation.

The suspect fled in Neighbors' car, running across her front lawn and hitting shrubs on his way, she said.

The Berlin Police Department released a statement Friday afternoon confirming the same man who bolted from Virtua Berlin's emergency room after a confrontation entered Neighbor's home and stole her car.

The suspect was apprehended at his residence, where he drove Neighbors' car, according to police.

Authorities charged the man with burglary, robbery, theft and criminal mischief.

Representatives with Virtua declined to comment citing privacy rights, but Neighbors said hospital officials told her it was the second time he escaped from the facility.

The terrifying incident, which occurred while Neighbors' 11-year-old son was asleep upstairs, has led the Berlin woman to demand the hospital reform policies regarding mental health issues to ensure the safety of patients and the surrounding community.

"He could have gotten hit by a car and killed," Neighbors said. "What if I would have had a gun sitting next to me and would have shot him?"

"He deserved to be protected," she said.

Berlin Police said there was no immediate threat to any residents during the incident and research on programs to send alerts to community members is underway.

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