stolen jewelry
A recovered piece of jewelry from an Aston Gardens At Tampa Bay resident. (Courtesy Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office)

An employee of a Florida assisted living community has been arrested for allegedly stealing more than $100,000 worth of items from residents while cleaning their rooms.

The Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office arrested Michely Beth Fuentes Arriaga, 30, after a resident of Aston Gardens At Tampa Bay in Westchase, FL, complained of missing items and suspected Fuentes Arriaga of taking them. Detectives said they determined that Fuentes Arriaga pawned more than 100 pieces of jewelry between January and October at a local pawn shop, including necklaces, rings and bracelets. Detectives said she admitted to the thefts upon her arrest.

“We are fully cooperating with the authorities and appreciate everything they are doing for our residents,” Heidi Miller LaVanway, vice president of marketing for Discovery Senior Living, which operates Aston Gardens At Tampa Bay, told McKnight’s Senior Living. “Aston Gardens At Tampa Bay has been established in the Westchase community with a stellar reputation for more than 20 years. We are very saddened to learn that this incident has affected a small group of residents. Our onsite team remains completely dedicated to the service and care of our community.”

Fuentes Arriaga was taken into custody on Oct. 28 and charged with five counts of grand theft, five counts of false information on a pawnbroker form, and five counts of dealing in stolen property.

Detectives and Aston Gardens, which offers independent living, assisted living and memory care, are working to recover the stolen items and return them to the residents. The Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office said there may be more victims.

“Based on the number of pawn transactions made by this suspect, we believe there are more victims. We’re asking them to come forward,” Sheriff Chad Chronister said.