Thieves, Seeking Quick $$, Steal X-Ray Film From Area Hospitals

LOWER MERION, Pa. (CBS) – In what may be another sign of the tough economy, at least three hospitals in the Delaware Valley are reporting recent thefts of scrap X-ray films that apparently have some cash value.

The thefts were all reported last month, and according to hospital officials and police are consistent with similar thefts that are happening around the country.

Thomas Jefferson Hospital in Philadelphia, Lankenau Hospital in Lower Merion, and Grandview Hospital in upper Bucks County all say thieves stole old patient films, defective films and blank films that can be washed in chemicals to recover the silver, which can be turned into quick cash.

Police believe the thieves are posing as workers for the company which contracts with the hospitals to remove and recycle the X-rays.

There’s also concern about identity theft, although hospital officials say the films do not include Social Security numbers, addresses, or any type of financial information.

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Reported by Brad Segall, KYW Newsradio 1060

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  • thomas

    I did silver recovery off from x-ray film in the 80’s. Nop, Mr. Brad Segall, it is not “Some quick cash”. You need to learn report the truth and not as usually always tweak it and skew it.

    1. you load about 1000 pounds of film into a commercial size washing machine. The plumbing is hooked up in a way so all the bath water is collected after the washing is down. The water contains certain chemicals / enzymes that will take the black stuff off from the films.

    2. Then the liquid is run through a centrifuge which separates the water from the black mud.

    3. The the black mud is refined to silver in a melt oven

    This process takes about a hole day. Usually we ran about 5 to 6 loads in a day’s time and then refined the silver in the melt oven.

    I bet you this was an inside job. The hospitals are just saying these x-ray loads were stolen because they sold it off to someone without the required EPA certification needed for recycling…

    • Alvin Marcott

      hmmm… you seem to know an awful lot about this. you wouldn’t happen to have a alibi for the times the thefts took place, eh?

  • Andy Oakley

    Considering that silver was only about $4.00 an ounce back in 2008, it has increased much more in value than gold and that trend is predicted to continue.

    • Iman Azol

      Silver was $10-$13/oz in 2008. It hasn’t been $4 in almost a decade. But it is $32ish now.

  • WhamaLamma

    At least the thieves aren’t targeting the silver recover mud, that’s worth many times as much.

    I ran a photo lab and the silver recovery system was our most guarded because of the amount of silver recovered.

  • Bobert

    Nothing new, they were stealing X-ray film in 1978 at a Hospital in Chicago that I worked at.

    • MrNiceGuy

      Very true. The hospital that I worked at in the 70’s and 80’s had silver collectors as part of the film processors. The profits were split between the film processor service higher-ups and the chief technologist.

      • Eric

        does anyone know the recovery rate of silver lets say for a hundred pounds of negatives my wife works for a book manufacturing company and they throw them away everyday

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