Make us your home page
Instagram

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Hospice worker accused of stealing elderly woman's wedding ring

Rings belonging to Jane Meek, including her wedding band (middle finger, middle ring) are displayed. Meek, who has cancer, was in a hospital when hospice worker stole the ring and about 20 other pieces of jewelry, officers said.

Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office

Rings belonging to Jane Meek, including her wedding band (middle finger, middle ring) are displayed. Meek, who has cancer, was in a hospital when hospice worker stole the ring and about 20 other pieces of jewelry, officers said.

SUN CITY CENTER — Jane Meek, gravely ill, wanted to wear her wedding ring one last time.

But the 92-year-old widow feared the ring was gone forever, stolen from her home with other jewelry Saturday while she lay in a hospital bed suffering from cancer.

Mike Massimei, 47, heard about the case Monday and was determined to make Meek's wish come true.

The Hillsborough County sheriff's detective quickly homed in on a suspect: a hospice worker who had delivered equipment to the woman's home.

Within hours, Massimei had a confession and the jewelry in hand. Soon, he was walking up to Meek's Sun City Center home to return 22 pieces of jewelry, including the ring her late husband had given her.

She was so elated she couldn't stop crying.

The detective choked back tears of his own. They talked for two hours, but Massimei mostly just listened as Meek described the life behind her necklaces, bracelets and rings, some collected during travels to Egypt and India.

It made him think about his own memories: his wife's smile at their wedding, dancing in the kitchen at Thanksgiving.

"I've seen a lot of things," said Massimei, a 21-year veteran of law enforcement. "This one really touched my heart."

His talk with Mrs. Meek stayed with him.

"I know that I am going to treasure everything that comes past my eyes," he said. "It makes you look at your heart."

The man he arrested, Jason B. Russell, 27, was charged with third-degree grand theft. He was released Wednesday from a Hillsborough County jail on $2,000 bail.

Massimei said Russell is a former military police officer.

The LifePath Hospice worker admitted he stole the jewelry, worth about $4,000, the detective said. While delivering equipment, Russell asked Meek's family for water. Left alone, he went into her bedroom and emptied her jewelry box, Massimei said.

The detective said nine other pieces of jewelry were found with Russell and that he is a person of interest in similar cases.

Patty Klein, a spokeswoman for LifePath, said Russell is no longer with the company. She said LifePath conducts a rigorous background check on all employees before hiring. Russell had never been arrested in Florida.

Massimei said Russell confessed quickly.

"He knew he did wrong, and he wants to work through it," the detective said. "He was extremely remorseful."

The detective shared that with Meek.

She said she hopes Russell gets his life back on track.

Danny Valentine can be reached at dvalentine@sptimes.com or (813) 226-3386.

Hospice worker accused of stealing elderly woman's wedding ring 09/23/10 [Last modified: Friday, September 24, 2010 6:52am]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. Tampa Bay Super Bowls: A brief history and some predictions for 2021

    Bucs

    At last, Tampa will host a Super Bowl again. It used to be that the Cigar City would host one a decade, but by the time February 2021 rolls around, it will have been 12 years since the epic showdown between the Steelers and Cardinals. Because it has been awhile, let's revisit those past Super Bowls while also peering …

    New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady, left, holds the AFC Championship trophy? as he celebrates with head coach Bill Belichick after the AFC championship NFL football game, Sunday, Jan. 22, 2017, in Foxborough, Mass. The Patriots defeated the the Pittsburgh Steelers 36-17 to advance to the Super Bowl.? (AP Photo/Matt Slocum) FBO247
  2. Sputtering Rays keep falling one run short

    The Heater

    ST. PETERSBURG — Even going into play against the Angels on Tuesday just a game under .500 at 23-24, the Rays have some issues they have to resolve.

    Rays starter Alex Cobb waits for Mike Trout to finish his trot after homering to give the Angels a 2-0 lead.
  3. Analysis: Manchester attack was exactly what many had long feared

    World

    LONDON — For Britain's security agencies, London always seemed like the likely target. For years, the capital of 8 million with hundreds of thousands of weekly tourists and dozens of transit hubs had prepared for and feared a major terror attack.

  4. Dade City man dies after crashing into county bus, troopers say

    Public Safety

    ZEPHYRHILLS — A 38-year-old man died Tuesday after colliding into the rear of a county bus on U.S. 301, the Florida Highway Patrol said.

  5. Suspicious device at Pinellas Park home was a spent artillery round, police say

    Public Safety

    PINELLAS PARK — Bomb squad investigators determined that a "suspicious device" found at a Pinellas Park home Tuesday afternoon was a spent artillery round, police said.