Nebraska Dentist Pleads Not Guilty to Gold Theft

Dr. William Birdwell was a member of the Texas Board of Dental Examiners until his resignation Friday.
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OMAHA, Neb. (AP) -- A Lincoln dentist has pleaded not guilty to stealing nearly $17,000 worth of precious metals from the Veterans Affairs Medical Center in Omaha.

Randall Toothaker appeared in federal court Wednesday and entered his plea.

Prosecutors say a lab technician reported seeing the 57-year-old dentist open a locked cabinet where precious metals used in dental procedures, including gold, were kept.

While VA officials investigated the missing metals, prosecutors say Toothaker tried to leave the property. Officers pulled him over and found the missing metals in a bag in his vehicle.

Toothaker told officers he didn't know how the metals got into his bag.

Toothaker declined to comment after Wednesday's court hearing.