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Surveillance tape helps solve home thefts, Hernando deputies say

BROOKSVILLE — The elderly woman suspected that someone had been stealing thousands of dollars from her home, but she told deputies she couldn't be sure. A hidden video camera, however, told the tale.

The 92-year-old woman told Hernando County sheriff's deputies that she goes to the bank every few months to get cash, always several thousand dollars, so that she doesn't have to drive more often to the bank for withdrawals. But lately, she had suspected that someone was stealing her cash, noting that she had lost a total of about $14,000.

She told deputies that Erica Krolak, 21, a home health care nurse from Family Life Care Inc., had visited her home on several occasions until being reassigned. However, almost every week for the past few months, Krolak had visited her on her own time and always for just a few minutes, an arrest report says.

On every visit, Krolak would ask to use the bathroom and always used the bathroom adjacent to a bedroom where the victim kept the money in a closet.

Krolak called the woman and said she was going to visit her on Wednesday, but that when she noticed cars in the driveway, she had decided not to stop in. Instead, Krolak said, she would stop by on Thursday, the report says.

Investigators placed surveillance equipment in the woman's bedroom, and on Thursday, Krolak stopped by. After she left, a deputy reviewed the tape and saw Krolak go into the bedroom, walk straight to the closet and pull out a bank bag. She then replaced the bag and left the home, the report states.

Deputies stopped Krolak as she drove away. She denied any involvement with the thefts but when she was told that a surveillance camera had been set up, the report says, she admitted she had taken money on at least two other occasions. Krolak said she took several hundred dollars at a time.

The report notes that investigators set the bank bag up with $900 but that Krolak did not take any of the money. Krolak told deputies that she had intended to take money, but she could not say why she didn't.

Investigators theorized that $900 was such a small amount that the victim would have noticed the theft too quickly.

Krolak was arrested on charges of attempted grand theft and attempted exploitation of the elderly.

Times staff

Surveillance tape helps solve home thefts, Hernando deputies say 10/29/10 [Last modified: Friday, October 29, 2010 8:21pm]
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