Memphis VA employee accused of stealing patient vehicle, patient finds vehicle six months later

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MEMPHIS, Tenn. -- Oliver Robinson, 51, served in the Marines. He's a patient at the Memphis VA.

He came in for some help back in August, and he came out with a lot less than he ever imagined.

"You thinking that you go to the hospital for help, and that's what you thinking you're supposed to get. The best care, but in my case I lost something," said Robinson.

When Robinson initially checked into the hospital, he had to turn over all of his belongings.

"That includes your clothes, your wallet, even the chain around my neck," he explained.

Once he realized he was going to be staying at the VA longer than anticipated, he called his wife to come pick up their Nissan Murano.

"When she went to get the keys, the keys weren't there!"

The vehicle was not in the parking lot. They filed a police report. Months went by with no answers, and the Robinsons were forced to buy a new car.

Fast forward to six months later, Robinson returned to the VA and was walking through the parking lot when he spotted his vehicle.

He knew it was his because of a few small damages to the front and back of the vehicle.

The VIN number was also covered.

"You know how I reacted! I ran back in the VA quick! You know you walk in the VA, but I ran. I said, 'I got to get somebody that can take care of this!'"

Security and the Memphis Police Department put a boot on the car to make sure it wasn't going anywhere and then sat back and watched.

According to a police report, they watched Michael Merritt get into the SUV to remove some belongings.

He was arrested and charged with theft.

On Monday a spokesperson with the VA confirmed he is an employee and is still employed at this time because "the case is still under the jurisdiction of law enforcement."

After half a year of problems, Robinson is glad to have his car back, and he can credit his perceptive eye.

"Me and my wife would just look and say, “Wow, we used to have one like that,' but we got it back so we don’t look at the other vehicles anymore," said Robinson with a smile.


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