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LCSO: assisted living worker stole from resident

Posted at 10:48 PM, Apr 18, 2016
and last updated 2016-04-18 23:30:27-04

A caregiver at an assisted living facility was arrested and charged with exploitation of the elderly after she allegedly stole a resident's American Express card and used it to buy items at Walgreens.

Janai Hernandez, 26, was an employee of Cypress Cove Retirement and Assisted Living community when the Lee County Sheriff's Office said she stole from a resident.

Todd Smith said is 93-year-old mother has dementia, and has lived at Cypress Cove for years.

He said it all started when his sister took a close look at their mom's credit card statement.

"She saw some unusual charges and started making some inquiries about them," Smith said.

He said his sister asked the management at Cypress Cove if a caregiver had shopped for their mom that day.

"They discovered viewing some videotape footage at a drugstore, like a Walgreens, one of the employees of Cypress Cove had in fact made some charges on my mother's credit card," Smith said.

Deputies said Hernandez spent $265 and change at Walgreens.

"Very upsetting to me. What she did was wrong, and taking advantage of the elderly is just horrible thing," Smith said.

Four in Your Corner's Lisa Greenberg went to Hernandez's home to talk to her about the charges, but no one answered the door and her cell phone went to voicemail.

Her neighbor, Marie Schmitt, couldn't believe what the Sheriff's Office report said.

"An elderly person? That's not OK," Schmitt said.

Smith said he hopes this is an isolated case, but warns others, including Cypress Cove Management, to be vigilant.

"There are people out there that prey on them and take advantage of them," he said.

We called Cypress Cove twice and even stopped into their front office to talk about their hiring and security procedures and see if Hernandez is still employed there, but haven't gotten answers.

Smith said he feels his mom is safe in the care of Cypress Cove employees and doesn't fault them for what happened.