Austin woman pleads not guilty to theft from Cedars patients

Published 10:20 am Friday, October 28, 2016

A 31-year-old Austin woman pleaded not guilty Thursday to charges she took $3,400 worth of jewelry from two residents in the dementia unit at The Cedars of Austin.

Sarahann Caroline Beck-Iaquinto is charged with felony theft, felony possession of stolen property and gross misdemeanor theft.

According to court records, officers responded in August to a report of two gold rings being stolen from an elderly female resident at The Cedars of Austin memory care unit and reports had also come in of small amounts of money stolen from two other residents.

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All reports were on the third and fifth floors, which Cedars administrators told officers were locked units for residents with dementia. Through interviews, police narrowed the list of suspects to two former employees and Beck-Iaquinto, an employee at the time of the investigation.

A search of the Automated Pawn System found Beck-Iaquinto had recent sold three gold rings to Pawn Works in Burnsville, while the other suspects had no recent sales.

Officers also learned Beck-Iaquinto’s husband has a criminal history of theft convictions.

With the help of the victim’s relatives, officers identified two of the rings sold to Pawn Works as the victim’s rings, which were appraised at $2,800, while the third ring was found to belong to another Cedars resident and was appraised at $600.

Officers observed Pawn Works surveillance of Beck-Iaquinto and her husband going into the store, giving the clerk the rings and receiving $470 for the three.

Beck-Iaquinto was arrested Sept. 2.

Officers traced the third ring to a resident of The Cedars with the help of her daughter, who told police her mother never took the ring off, so someone would have had to remove it from her finger.

A pretrial is set for Dec. 30 with a Jan. 9, 2017, trial.