Caregiver gets 30 days in jail for stealing jewelry

2013-02-15T00:00:00Z 2013-02-15T07:23:08Z Caregiver gets 30 days in jail for stealing jewelryKim Smith Arizona Daily Star Arizona Daily Star
February 15, 2013 12:00 am  • 

A Tucson caregiver who stole and pawned 10 items of jewelry from one of her patients was sentenced to 30 days in jail and three years' probation Thursday in Pima County Superior Court.

Last October, a resident at The Fountains at La Cholla called the Sheriff's Department to report several items of jewelry missing from her dresser drawer, according to court documents.

The 86-year-old woman, who was undergoing chemotherapy at the time, told detectives she had seen the jewelry the day before and only one caregiver had had access to her home.

Through the course of his investigation, the detectives discovered the caregiver, Sylvia Cruz, 64, had pawned 102 items between Jan. 1, 2012, and Oct. 19, receiving more than $17,000, court documents indicate. Cruz was fired, and she pleaded guilty to theft/financial exploitation of a vulnerable adult.

Under the terms of her plea agreement, she could have received up to two years in prison.

Before Thursday's hearing, Cruz told a probation officer she was struggling to support herself, her son and her grandson at the time of the thefts. But during the hearing, she told Superior Court Judge Howard Hantman that she spent her ill-gotten gains gambling, Assistant Arizona Attorney General Jesse Delaney said.

Hantman ordered Cruz to pay the victim more than $3,600 in restitution for jewelry not recovered by the police. He also told her she can't work with vulnerable adults or pawn items while on probation.

On StarNet: Follow the news and events at Pima County's courthouses in Kim Smith's blog, At the Courthouse, at azstarnet.com/courthouse

Contact reporter Kim Smith at 573-4241 or kimsmith@azstarnet.com. On Twitter: @KimSmithStar

Copyright 2014 Arizona Daily Star. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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