TAMPA (FOX 13) - Hillsborough County deputies accused a former assisted living facility worker of stealing wedding rings from residents and said Monday they're looking into a possible third case.
According to investigators, Dian'te Matthew is suspected of swiping the rings from an elderly man and woman at the Arbor Terrace Citrus Park assisted living facility and then trying to pawn them off.
Both rings have since been recovered, but deputies are also looking into whether Marilyn Bartholomew's ring was also stolen.
"It leads me to think that perhaps that's what happened to my mom's ring also, but I can't say for sure," said Becky Belanger, Bartholomew's daughter, who noticed earlier this month her 92-year-old mother's wedding band was gone. "I tore the room apart. I looked everywhere."
Belanger said her stepfather, John Bartholomew, died 37 years ago and her mother has worn her wedding ring for more than 40 years.
Even though Marilyn Bartholomew suffers from Alzheimer's disease, she knows her ring is gone.
"It's her wedding band and it has an inscription in it and she misses it. She has a lot of memory issues, but she does realize that that ring that she has had for so many years is gone," her daughter explained.
When Belanger realized the ring was missing, she notified the facility's management. Days later she learned about the other two cases of stolen wedding bands.
"I think there's a special place in hell for somebody like that," Belanger said. "I'm hopeful that they'll catch the person and find out, was my mother's ring involved or is it lost some place? But I just hope we find something."
Deputies told FOX 13 Matthew hasn't been seen since he was fired on June 17 after he didn't show up to work.
In a statement, the Arbor Company, which runs the facility told FOX 13:
"The safety and security of our residents is of the greatest importance and we take situations like this very seriously. We conduct a Level 2 background check on every employee and that information is shared with the Agency for Healthcare Administration, which regulates our communities... At this point, this is a law enforcement matter and questions should be directed to the Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office."