Deputies: Caretaker Charged with Stealing Cash and Jewelry from - WRCBtv.com | Chattanooga News, Weather & Sports

Deputies: Caretaker Charged with Stealing Cash and Jewelry from Dementia Patient

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BRADLEY COUNTY, TN (WRCB) -

Bradley County deputies are investigating a case of fraud that they say left an elderly dementia patient out thousands of dollars. 
 
The family hired a caretaker, who now faces charges. Now deputies need your help finding the precious items stolen from 76-year-old, Jack Coleman. They say this type of crime is all too common.

"Things like what Ricky Stevison did, this is the scum of the earth," said Sheriff Eric Watson, Bradley County Sheriff's Dept. "This is low-down when you take advantage of older people that can't take care of themselves."
 
Strong words from Sheriff Eric Watson about a case of elderly abuse involving a trusting family being deceived for cold hard cash. Investigators say a family out of Cleveland, Tn,  hired Ricky Stevison to take care of Jack Coleman, 76  who suffers from dementia. They found him through a news paper add. For $600 a week, he cooked dinner, cleaned the house and ran small errands. After 38 days on the job, investigators say he took Mr. Coleman to the bank. 
 
"When you put trust in someone to take care of someone you love and someone takes advantage, they need to be put under the jail because that's the scum of the earth," said Sheriff Watson. 

Deputies believe Stevison took Mr. Coleman to his safety deposit box and cleaned it out. The bank called his niece who called the Sheriffs Dept. but it was too late. 
 
19 rare rings, 4 necklaces and bracelets, a watch and assorted coins worth about  $50-60 thousand dollars are gone. Deputies found some of it had been sold by Stevison at the local Cleveland Coin and Jewelry shop, most of it is still missing. Stevison is now charged with Felony Theft over $10,000 and Felony Exploitation of an Adult. 

 "In my opinion you need a second party to oversee that first party that's with anything, checking accounts and savings accounts," said Sheriff Watson. 

Sheriff Watson warns families to do their homework,  the Sheriff's Department will do background checks and weekly visits as a part of their Alzheimer Registry Program to keep you safe, all you have to do is call and ask. Before you let them in, he says you should also make sure a caretaker can provide several reliable references.

"You've got to be smart, if something is too good to be true stay away from it," said Sheriff Watson. 

If you have any information on where the stolen items might be call the Bradley County Sheriff's Dept. Stevison's next court date is January 14.  Sheriff Watson says if convicted, the Exploitation of an Adult charge could mean about 12-15 years behind bars. 

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