The nursing home caregiver allegedly took narcotics and replaced them with other prescription drugs.

A licensed practical nurse was charged Thursday with stealing prescription drugs after she allegedly swapped mild medication for powerful narcotics at a Hartland nursing home.

Annette Towle, 55, of St. Albans is charged with stealing drugs prescribed to patients from a controlled area at Sanfield Rehabilitation & Living Center on Main Street.

The stolen prescription medication was replaced with other medication, such as allergy medicine, mild blood pressure medicine and extra strength Tylenol, according to Dale Lancaster, chief deputy at the Somerset County Sheriff’s Department.

“The replacement medicine was placed back into their respective packages so as not to alert anyone that medications had been stolen,” Lancaster said. “Stealing prescription medications intended for another individual is harmful and potentially dangerous.”

Stolen were 5-milligram oxycodone pills and 5-milligram Vicodin pills.

Lancaster said the value and number of pills stolen is not yet known.

He said the thefts and tampering have been happening for at least the past 12 months.

Towle worked the night shift at the 23-bed assisted-living residence.

She had been employed there for the past six years as a full-time nurse, Lancaster said.

She faces a Class C felony charge of stealing drugs, punishable by up to five years in prison.

The nursing home staff reported the theft Wednesday. Towle was issued a court summons the next day and was not arrested, according to Lancaster.

More charges could be brought against Towle once the case is reviewed by the district attorney’s office, Lancaster said.

Towle’s initial court date is April 16.

Doug Harlow can be contacted at 612-2367 or at:dharlow@centralmaine.comTwitter: @Doug_Harlow