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Charged with stealing skin

A medical company sales representative was charged with stealing more than $350,000 worth of human skin over a period of several years.

Gary Dudek, 54, of Wallingford, was arrested Monday and charged with theft, receiving stolen property and tampering with records.

Authorities say he worked until September as a sales representative for a regenerative medicine firm, managing accounts for the bioscience department of Mercy Philadelphia Hospital. In that role, Dudek was allowed to order the skin grafts for the hospital whenever he wanted.

Authorities said the hospital only needed a few grafts at a time. Dudek, however, ordered more than 200 without authorization from November 2011 through July that the hospital never received, investigators said.

Philadelphia police said they do not know the motive or what happened to the grafts, which were valued at $1,700 each.

Dudek was released Tuesday after posting 10 per cent of $10,000 bail. His attorney, Eugene Tinari, told WCAU-TV in a statement that the hospital has yet to prove his client did anything wrong, and the case should be handled as a civil matter.

"To take this into the criminal arena against a man who has been nothing but hard-working and law-abiding his entire life is a bit draconian, in my view," he said.

Dudek worked for Canton, Massachusetts-based Organogenesis. As a sales rep, he would have had no use for human skin grafts, company spokeswoman Angelyn Lowe told the Philadelphia Daily News.

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