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Pasco nursing home worker accused of stealing jewelry, cash

NEW PORT RICHEY — A certified nursing assistant has been charged in a string of thefts from elderly patients at an assisted living facility.

Yesenia Matilde Surillo, 43, stole jewelry and cash from residents of the Atria Baypoint Village at 7927 State Road 52 in Bayonet Point, according to the Pasco County Sheriff's Office.

Detectives say she pawned the jewelry for cash.

Surillo stole the items from patients' rooms — often taking property that was left out in the open, but sometimes removing valuables that had been secured in lockboxes or hidden in dressers, the Sheriff's Office said.

About $17,000 in cash and jewelry was stolen in 18 reported thefts dating to May. Authorities say Surillo collected $8,400 in 14 separate pawnshop transactions. She was arrested after detectives presented her with evidence from the pawnshop transactions and she admitted to the crimes.

Some jewelry was recovered in her car, and some is still missing, the Sheriff's Office said. The victims range in age from their 70s to 98.

"Promoting the health and safety of our residents and staff is our No. 1 priority at Atria Baypoint Village," executive director Susan Harris said in a prepared statement.

"We have been cooperating and working closely with local law enforcement to address this issue and they have our full support."

Surillo, of 553 Spring Heaven Loop, Spring Hill, was arrested Tuesday on nine counts of grand theft and two counts of false verification of ownership. Detectives said additional charges are being investigated.

Pasco nursing home worker accused of stealing jewelry, cash 10/27/10 [Last modified: Wednesday, October 27, 2010 8:47pm]
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