Police: Caretaker stole jewelry from elderly she watched over

- Clinton Township police recovered plenty of stolen jewelry taken from society's most vulnerable - senior citizens who rely on caretakers.

"A gold nugget style bracelet which is pretty unique," said Det. Joe Burns.

Included in the evidence, a wedding ring.

"They are still married and they live together in a facility and they didn't know the ring was gone," Burns said.

Burns says it was all taken by Michaele Eckridge, a second-party contracted employee working at the Villa Bella senior care facility.

"We are up to about five (victims) just out of that facility involving this individual," Burns said.

Police say this isn't the work of a hardened criminal.

The detective says in this case the suspect had a clean record and never was caught committing any crime before, but couldn't resist the temptation to steal. Burns adds it is not the fault of senior facilities either.

"They are running background checks, they are doing interviews with people and getting honest people initially," Burns said.

So how did she get caught? A pawn shop database and those unique items.

"At that time there were two victims and they were able to point out which items were theirs," Burns said.

Police questioned Eckridge who they say confessed.   What happens to her now police say should serve as a warning.

"We are looking at 20-25 years for this type of event," Burns said.

Which should serve as a warning to would be criminals and anyone with a loved one in someone else's care.

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