Up to 43 elderly victims in central Ohio have had jewelry, keepsakes stolen

CREDIT: Delaware Co. Sheriff's Office

DELAWARE CO., OH (WCMH)–Investigators say the jewelry theft case involving elderly victims of senior living centers in Delaware and Franklin counties just keeps getting bigger. Detective Christina Burke of the Delaware County Sheriff’s Office says they have now identified 43 victims and believe there are many more.

Police recovered more than 3,000 pieces of jewelry and other keepsakes during the execution of a search warrant of a home on the northeast side of Columbus in March.

The suspect, a woman who posed as a health care worker to gain access to the buildings, has not yet been charged. But detective Burke says it’s just a matter of time.

“There’s no question that a lot of cases have been solved by that search warrant and this suspect,” she said.

The case is being reviewed by the Delaware County Prosecutor’s Office.

Burke tells NBC4 the investigation has only been able to connect a fraction of the jewelry recovered with rightful owners so far. She’s hoping someone will recognize some of the items with identifying information like a pocket watch with the initials H J B, a bracelet that belonged to Freida, even a bronze star that belonged to a John Lester.

“There’s still quite a few that have a first name or initials on it that we would like to find out who these people are and get the property returned to them,” Burke said.

Burke says they have identified 12 senior living facilities targeted by the suspect but does not rule out the possibility of more. Investigators believe the suspect stole items from the resident’s apartments while they were in the dining room.

Even with all that has been recovered, investigators say some items may be long gone. “We haven’t recovered everything,” Burke said. “We have evidence to support that she was selling some of this property and that’s what she was living off of.”

Detective Burke says the suspect has not been very cooperative.

“She’s shown absolutely no remorse at all,” Burke said. “I don’t believe that these families will ever receive a genuine apology from this woman.”

Anyone who believes they may be able to identify some of the jewelry is asked to contact the local police department for the senior living center involved.

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