NANAIMO — A Nanaimo seniors care facility is exploring increased security options as allegations of theft persist.
Sue Green told NanaimoNewsNOW she was notified by staff at Wexford Creek on Oct. 29 that her 94-year-old stepmother's diamond-studded engagement and wedding rings were missing and hadn't been seen for several days.
Green said her stepmother Ruth, who is confined to a wheelchair and has vascular dementia, never removes the rings from her finger.
"It's not the monetary loss, it's the fact she doesn't have them anymore that upsets me the most," Green said. "I think what just absolutely horrifies me is that someone has (allegedly) removed these from the finger of an elderly dementia patient. Like, how low could you go?"
Nanaimo RCMP confirmed a file was opened on the incident and they are investigating.
The suspected theft comes a little over two months after NanaimoNewsNOW reported Wexford Creek management informed families of an RCMP investigation into the unexplained loss of some resident's jewelry over the mid-to-late summer.
At the time, site manager Sue Ball said in a letter to families she would do anything possible to find out who was responsible, noting all staff at Wexford have a criminal record and reference check before beginning work.
In an emailed statement to NanaimoNewsNOW, Ball confirmed "several recent reports" by family members about missing items.
She said the items are commonly small personal belongings and are often found in a variety of places, sometimes reappearing quickly or "with no apparent reason."
Ball said investigations done by RCMP and the Provincial Licensing Officer have neither confirmed nor ruled out a theft took place.
"Wexford has had discussions with the RCMP as to how to mitigate the potential for theft and whether video surveillance has value either as a deterrent or for investigative purposes. This option is being costed and explored. In the meantime, staff, families and residents are asked to be vigilant and to report strangers in the building," Ball's statement said.
Wexford Creek is operated independently by Park Place Seniors Living and is publicly subsidized by Island Health.
In a statement, Island Health said "we are always concerned to hear about any criminal allegations at a care facility. When they do occur, they are reported to police and we cooperate fully in police investigations."
A person who reached out to NanaimoNewsNOW in August to report the suspected theft of their mother's rings from Wexford said they had not been made aware of any findings from investigations in the summer.
"People need to be aware, they need to be watchful of their elderly relative's possessions in these settings and that's a message I hope comes across," Green said.
On Twitter: @domabassi
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