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Cleaning lady accused of stealing $100,000 in jewelry from elderly people at assisted living facility

Authorities say the stolen items included necklaces, rings and bracelets.
Credit: Hillsborough County Sheriff's Office

WESTCHASE, Fla. — A cleaning lady at an assisting living facility stole more than $100,000 worth of jewelry from elderly residents, investigators say.

The Hillsborough County Sheriff's Office says 30-year-old Michely Beth Fuentes Arriaga worked at Aston Gardens at Tampa Bay on West Linebaugh Avenue in Westchase. That's where deputies say she took jewelry from seniors while cleaning their rooms and pawned most of the items.

Detectives and Aston Gardens managers first began investigating after somebody living there complained of missing items and suspected Fuentes Arriaga of taking them, according to law enforcement.

"Through investigative measures, detectives determined that Fuentes Arriaga had pawned more than 100 pieces of jewelry at a local pawn shop," the sheriff's office wrote in a news release. "The items included necklaces, rings, and bracelets, among other pieces."

She was arrested on Wednesday and charged with five counts of grand theft, five counts of providing false information on a pawnbroker form and five counts of dealing in stolen property.

"It's disgusting to see anyone take advantage of the most vulnerable of our population," Sheriff Chad Chronister wrote in a statement. "Based on the number of pawn transactions made by this suspect, we believe there are more victims. We're asking them to come forward."

Detectives say they and managers at the facility are trying to recover the stolen jewelry and return the items to their rightful owners. Anyone with information about the case should call the Hillsborough County Sheriff's Office at 813-247-8200.

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