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Former Boston EMT Charged With Stealing Painkillers From Ambulances

BOSTON (CBS/AP) — A former Boston paramedic pleaded not guilty Friday to stealing and tampering with painkillers and sedatives from ambulances and locked drug storage areas.

Brian Benoit, 40, was released without bail after his arraignment on 73 counts in Suffolk Superior Court on the condition that he allow himself to be fingerprinted and photographed by police and that he not work as a paramedic or EMT while his case is pending.

Prosecutor Michele Granda said Benoit stole painkillers and sedatives intended for patients being transported, and in some cases replaced the medications he stole with other liquids, during the summer of 2011.

"The defendant replaced the drugs he used with clear substances," said ADA Michele Granda, "and put the drugs back... diluted."

Investigators say Benoit came in contact with at least 57 patients, but none have indicated that they were not treated properly.

Officials have stressed that Benoit was negative for any diseases that could've been passed on to his patients.

Benoit's lawyer "vehemently" denied the charges against his client, claiming a co-worker had a grudge against him.

Prosecutors say Benoit's scheme was discovered by co-workers who saw red flags.

"His co-workers noticed he started acting strangely," Assistant District Attorney Michele Granda said. "A nurse at BMC saw his arms bore the signs of drug use...tracks."

WBZ-TV's Bill Shields contributed to this report.

(TM and © Copyright 2012 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2012 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)

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