POLICE: Maintenance worker charged with stealing from blind elderly woman
LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) – A maintenance worker is charged with burglary after police say he stole from a blind woman living at an assisted living facility in Louisville.
"What am I gonna do? You know what on earth am I gonna do?” said Juanita Berry. “That was all the money at that time I had."
Berry first noticed her money missing a couple of months ago after a friend drove her to the store.
"And she came flying out and she said, 'where's your money?' I said, 'what do you mean where's my money?' She said, 'it's gone!' And it was, it was gone," said Berry.
Her missing funds were for medication. Berry, 85, has Parkinson's and can barely see. She lives at Twinbrook Hotel Apartments near Bowman Field.
She always leaves her bathroom door open, but one day she noticed it was closed.
"That really caught my eye," said Berry. “And there was -- all my money missing again."
In total, $300 dollars was missing since May.
"I was distraught, really distraught," said Berry.
The front office staff set up a hidden camera inside her room, put money in her purse, and wrote down the serial numbers.
"And every day we started checking to see if anything was missing,” said Twinkbrook's Vice President Brad McCoy.
McCoy says while Juanita was at breakfast on Tuesday, someone stole $20 from her purse.
"He walked in, he picked up the purse, he put the purse down then he walked back," said McCoy.
Staff compared the serial numbers they wrote down to the bill that McCoy said was found in Neblett's wallet. It matched with the $20 that was missing from her purse.
The alleged thief was the maintenance man 59-year-old Steve Neblett. The former Marine has worked at Twinbrook since 2009.
"I was shocked,” said Berry. “I was shocked because I really did like him. Everybody liked him."
Wednesday, a judge entered a plea of not guilty and ordered Neblett not to go near the apartments or have contact with Ms. Berry. He's charged with three counts of second degree burglary.
"I will allow you to serve home incarceration in lieu of bond," said the judge.
"I think the law should go to the full length to prosecute someone who does that to elders," said Berry who just wants justice. "I was shocked, genuinely shocked. I can't imagine. I just want my money back."
McCoy says Neblett did not have a criminal history when they did the background check so it was really surprising when they saw him on the video.
The incident was reported to police and adult protective services.
If found guilty -- McCoy says Neblett will no longer be able to work with seniors in a nursing home, assisted living facility, or a home healthcare facility.
McCoy doesn't believe anyone else has become a victim and says no one else has come forward.
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