Thursday, May 28, 2009

Rob Them While They Are Down

by WJXT-Channel 4 and at

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- The checks, credit cards and bank account of a 66-year-old woman were all cleaned out while she was hospitalized and in a coma. Now, authorities are searching for a culprit.

Police said someone stole thousands of dollars from the woman after she became ill with pneumonia and fell into a coma.

According to the police report, the incident happened when the ill woman checked into Baptist South Hospital last August. The report states, "she became very ill with pneumonia," and eventually "fell into a coma for approximately 30 days," and she didn't get out until the day after Christmas.

The report goes onto say, "during that time period from 8-21-08 until present, the victim's account has been debited to the amount of $12,466.14."

The victim has since moved into an assisted living facility in Orange Park. Channel 4 reporter Scott Johnson spoke with the woman by phone, but she asked not to be identified.

Police reports state the victim originally went into the hospital with her purse, but when she left months later the purse was gone.

Investigators were introduced to the case when a worker at the assisted living facility "advised the victim's bank account was being drained by someone. She and the victim presented numerous pages of bank charges that could not have been completed by the victim because she was in the hospital," according to the police report.

Police said they have been on the money trail and have talked to people who know the victim and may have had access to her personal belongings.

The officer handling the case said he is "attempting to obtain a warrant for the suspect's arrest."

If a person is arrested, he or she could face multiple fraud charges and a charge of exploitation of the elderly.

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