Toronto police are looking for three men who allegedly stole $1.2-million of medical equipment from Toronto Western Hospital on the weekend.
The suspects broke into a locked clinic and used a suitcase to cart away 26 medical scopes – 15 colonoscopes and 11 gastroscopes – as well as two light source machines and two video processors. The instruments are used to examine the inside of the colon and stomach.
"Obviously there would be a very small market for this and it's very hard for us to understand," said Gillian Howard, a spokeswoman for the University Health Network, which includes Toronto Western. "I guess the supposition is it's for overseas. It would be very distressing to think that it was stolen for use in the country."
Investigators and hospital officials believe the theft, which occurred on Saturday around 2:30 p.m., was targeted. The specialized equipment was in the hospital's locked fourth-floor endoscopic clinic, which is off limits to the public on weekends.
"They brought a suitcase. They came prepared to deal with everything they needed to deal with," said Constable David Hopkinson. "The clinic has electromagnetic locks, they're very difficult to defeat. But they brought tools and were able to force their way in."
The theft was discovered on Monday morning by medical staff. A few patient appointments had to be rescheduled, said Ms. Howard, adding that the hospital's supplier has provided loaner instruments and procedures are continuing.
Police released hospital security images showing the alleged thieves carrying a suitcase and a bag believed to contain the equipment. Investigators believe the men made their getaway in a silver Honda Odyssey minivan, possibly made in the early 2000s.