LEAWOOD, Kan. — A woman hired to care for seniors in Johnson County is facing charges that she stole from them instead. Police say victims lost as much as $100,000.
“It upsets me greatly that someone could take advantage of you, and she worked so quickly!” said one victim, who wanted to remain anonymous.
Prosecutors charged 59-year old Aldean “Suzy” Foster with theft. Police say based on what they think she pawned, this is the highest dollar amount they’ve seen stolen in a case like this. The possible six-figure amount includes only what police know was stolen, and detectives worry there may be much more.
In the meantime, families can’t believe the person they trusted to care for a loved one is accused of ripping them off.
“I looked in my jewelry box, and everything with a diamond was gone,” said an 85-year-old victim who had a fall, and needed help at home when she got out of rehab.
She found Foster through a company.
“I was shocked, absolutely shocked that everything was gone,” the victim said.
She says Foster worked for her about a week, then quit, but not before the woman says Foster stole expensive jewelry that had sentimental value.
“I have not added it up, but I`d say between 40 and 60 thousand dollars,” she speculated.
She called police immediately.
“Through some investigation, follow up through some of the pawn companies, stuff like that, we were able to determine the items stolen from our victim matched several items she had pawned, and then we also found some items from other jurisdictions,” said Detective John Freeman with the Leawood Police Department.
Det. Freeman says Foster`s been working in home healthcare for years, but this is the first time she’s faced any charges, so employers wouldn’t have found any red flags.
“They do their due diligence, doing a background check, and checking on their employees,” he added.
Police arrested Foster in Wyandotte County, and she’s since posted bond and been released from jail while she waits for her next court date. FOX 4’s Melissa Stern knocked on her door for comment on Wednesday, but it appeared no one was home.
Andrew McCarl told FOX 4 his 88-year-old mother, Mary, is also a victim. They only found out when police recovered a ring with his dad’s name on it from a pawn shop.
“My father was a reserve police officer for almost 20 years, and it`s an Overland Park Police Department ring, and it has his badge number, and our name McCarl on the ring,” he said, adding that his father passed away, and left the ring with his widow.
McCarl says he`s disgusted that someone would take advantage of such vulnerable people.
“You protect against people from the outside, you lock your doors, and you keep secure, but you`re letting people into your home that you trust, and to have somebody violate that trust, especially against an 88-year-old woman, that`s just a terrible thing to do,” McCarl said.
Leawood police want to hear from anyone who had the suspect caring for a loved one, when their valuables vanished.
Police have some tips to avoid situations like these:
They say photograph and make a list of anything valuable
Include the appraisals
Lock up anything that’s really valuable.
Police say many family members are unaware of all of their loved ones valuables. They say many times once it is given to a pawn shop, it gets melted down, and never found.