CORAL GABLES (CBSMiami) – The Coral Gables Police Department says surveillance tape they are releasing shows a massage therapist stealing jewelry from a 76-year-old woman while giving her a massage inside her home.
That victim told CBS4’s Peter D’Oench that she had known the massage therapist for more than two years and thought she could trust her. Now she says she feels betrayed. She says nearly $3,000 worth of jewelry was stolen and much of that jewelry had sentimental value.READ MORE: Florida Tax Collector To Workers: Get Vaccinated Or Find A New Job
She also said she is glad she went to police about this case in case there are other victims out there.
Coral Gables PD spokeswoman Officer Kelly Denham said the victim first went to Police in February.
“She had an in home masseuse during the past two years and noticed every time she left she was missing pieces of jewelry,” Denham said.
Denham said police offered to set up cameras to gather evidence and the victim agreed.
“She scheduled another massage and the same masseuse came in and was seen on the video,” said Denham. “She took two pieces of jewelry off a side table and placed an item in her pocket.”
Police went to the home of the suspect, 60-year-old Delma Marina Balladares.READ MORE: Fort Lauderdale Shaken Baby Case From 1984 Leads To Murder Charge
Denham said, “She did have some of the items in her home and officers retrieved them and placed them in to evidence.”
Balladares was charged with theft from the elderly.
Denham said she seemed like she was sorry.
“She was very remorseful and as for the victim, she didn’t want to do this. She trusted this woman. She had known her for two years but she had no choice because the thefts continued. This was not a onetime thing,” said Denham. “The subject admitted to stealing from her five times.”
This story is prompting a safety alert from police.
“Our elderly population is very trustful,” said Denham. “To have services such as a masseuse you are really at the mercy of people doing it so we caution people that when you have people come in to your home you need to be more observant.”
Denham continued, “You have got to do your due diligence and you have to ask questions when they provide services, whether it be a painter or a masseuse, ask for references.”MORE NEWS: Two Men Arrested In 2016 Murder Of FIU Student
Florida has the second highest number of elder abuse cases. California leads the nation.