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An employee of a hospice service admits he stole thousands of dollars worth of jewelry from elderly woman.
Jason B. Russell
1906 Pepperwood Place
Charges: Grand Theft Third Degree
Hillsborough County Sheriff’s detectives arrested a 27-year-old employee of a hospice service on Wednesday for stealing the jewelry of an elderly woman who is dying of cancer.
Sheriff’s Det. Mike Massimei investigated the case, identified the suspect and recovered the woman’s jewelry. He met with the 92-year-old widow this week and delivered her jewelry, including her beloved wedding ring, back to her. They chatted for two hours as the woman mixed tears with memories as she related stories surrounding each of the various pieces of jewelry. There were sentimental pieces from trips to Egypt and India, and some jewelry her husband bought while he was in the military. Most of all, she told Det. Massimei, she wanted to wear her wedding ring before she passed away.
Det. Massimei, 47, said it was the most emotional case he has worked in his 20 years as a law enforcement officer. He especially recalled the woman’s elation at getting her jewelry returned, and the colorful recollections of her life experiences.
Arrested was Jason B. Russell, DOB 11/12/82, of 1906 Pepperwood Place in Brandon. Det. Massimei went to the suspect’s house on Wednesday to talk with him. Within minutes the suspect told him about the theft. He handed over 22 pieces of the woman’s jewelry before taking a trip to the Orient Road Jail for grand theft.
The suspect, who was employed by Lifepath Hospice, was delivering hospice equipment to the woman’s house in southeastern Hillsborough County on Sept. 18. The elderly woman was at the hospital, and her son and his wife were readying her home so she could be taken care of in her final days. The suspect asked for a drink of water, and when he was left alone for a minute or two, he sneaked into the woman’s bedroom and emptied her jewelry box.
The theft was not discovered for a few days until the elderly woman asked her son to get her jewelry. They found the box empty and $4,000 worth of rings, bracelets, and necklaces gone.
Det. Massimei said he was glad to have played a part in making the woman’s final days more peaceful. It was satisfying as a law enforcement officer to make an arrest and solve the case. It was more satisfying as a person to reunite the woman with her beloved jewelry.