The trial for Shacoy McNish, a 28-year-old Upper Darby man accused of stealing the identities of patients from the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania in November, was postponed by a Delaware County judge to April 26.

The trial, which was scheduled for Monday, was delayed because prosecuting district attorney Brian Doherty “had trouble locating two of his witnesses,” according to defense attorney Edward Weiss.

Doherty could not be reached for comment Monday.

McNish faces 24 charges, including 19 counts of identity theft. University of Pennsylvania Health System spokeswoman Susan Phillips told The Daily Pennsylvanian last December that 18 patients’ medical records were accessed.

According to a police affidavit, an Upper Darby Sears employee reported McNish purchased $1,549.96 in items on Nov. 18, 2009 using a Social Security number associated with a Sears credit card account. He reportedly returned five days later to purchase $1,429.97 in items, using another Social Security number which, in the words of the affadavit, he “appeared to retrieve from his cell phone.”

The affidavit states that the holders of the credit card accounts were unaware the accounts had been opened.

The affidavit also says police found 19 photocopies in the back of a car McNish had been driving, each containing “detailed personal identifying information.”

According to Penn Law professor Paul Robinson, the commercial system’s increasing dependence on credit and electronic transactions has made identity theft more common.

He said modern forms of payment necessitate records of information, but that institutions “ought to be — and I think increasingly more are — more careful about protecting private information.”

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