Crime & Courts

Documents: Accused doctor stole hydrocodone, replaced with vitamin pills

A Charlotte eye doctor accused of stealing hydrocodone pills from his patients replaced their narcotic painkillers with vitamins while performing eye procedures on them, according to arrest warrants released Wednesday.

In one July incident, Dr. Samuel Ryan Hobbs prescribed a patient 25 pills of Norco, a mixture of hydrocodone and the pain-relief drug acetaminophen. He told the woman to fill the prescription and return to his practice, according to the court documents.

When she came back, Hobbs “took (the) victim’s medication and substituted it with vitamin tablets while he performed an eye procedure on the victim,” the arrest warrant states.

Hobbs and his brother, Benjamin, both doctors at Clear View Eye Care, were arrested and charged Tuesday with trafficking in opiates, obtaining a controlled substance by fraud, and larceny. An arrest warrant for Benjamin Hobbs has not been released.

Samuel Hobbs, 40, was released from the Mecklenburg jail Wednesday on $105,500 bond. He did not return a telephone message seeking comment. Benjamin Hobbs also couldn’t be reached.

Several victims told investigators a similar story: The Hobbses wrote prescriptions for hydrocodone for patients and requested they return to the practice with the filled prescriptions, then stole the pills from their bottles, according to police.

Police say the brothers have prescribed “a large amount of hydrocodone” for patients but didn’t disclose how much.

The doctors have two offices – one in Matthews and one in the Steele Creek community of southwest Charlotte. According to biographies on the website of their practice, the brothers graduated from East Carolina University, then obtained doctorates of optometry from the University of Alabama at Birmingham.

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