Ill. firefighter accused of stealing morphine from ambulance

By Christy Gutowski
Chicago Daily Herald

WESTMONT, Ill. — Two years after his peers named him Westmont's "firefighter of the year," Adam P. Giermann is accused of stealing morphine out of an ambulance, then replacing the powerful painkiller with saline solution.

A DuPage County grand jury recently indicted the 28-year-old Bolingbrook man on burglary and official misconduct charges. He faces probation or up to seven years in prison if convicted of the felonies.

The investigation began in April after a co-worker reported seeing Giermann use a syringe to inject himself with the morphine at a fire station at 500 N. Cass Ave. He's accused of taking the morphine from an ambulance housed at that fire station.

The allegation was reported to Westmont Fire Chief Frank Trout, who launched an internal investigation. Giermann, a firefighter/paramedic, admitted stealing the morphine in March and April, authorities said.

They said he replaced it with saline solution to avoid detection. It's unclear, though, if patients were injected with the salt water while being treated.

"It's very difficult to tell how much of the controlled substance was used," prosecutor Kenneth Tatarelis said Wednesday. "We believe five vials were compromised."

Giermann was named the 2007 Firefighter of the Year after being nominated by his peers. Tatarelis said Giermann was likely self-medicating a back injury.

A DuPage County judge issued an arrest warrant July 21. That next day, Giermann posted the required 10 percent of a $10,000 bond at the Westmont Police Department and was released.

Giermann, of the 200 block of Arbor Court, does not have a criminal record. He was indicted Aug. 6 and is facing an Aug. 24 arraignment before DuPage Circuit Judge George Bakalis.

Giermann could not be reached for comment

Wednesday. Fire Chief Trout referred a Daily Herald inquiry to police, who did not return phone messages. But in a prepared statement, Westmont officials said the fire department reviewed and strengthened its internal procedures and safety protocols in response to the probe.

"While this is a regrettable incident," Mayor Bill Rahn said in the statement, "no community is immune to these types of situations. We will effectively deal with this matter, and ultimately, it will result in a better, safer Westmont Fire Department."

Copyright 2009 Paddock Publications, Inc.

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