Florida nursing home worker stole rings off elderly patient’s fingers and pawned them that day, cops say

Jakovee Gray (Orange County Jail)
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By Jeff Weiner Orlando Sentinel (TNS)

ORLANDO, Fla. — Dressed in nursing scrubs, 30-year-old Jakovee Ladrel Gray walked into a Haines City pawn shop in mid-November and sold a pair of gold rings, explaining that she had inherited them from her grandmother, according to court records.

In reality, police say, Gray had that morning removed the rings from the fingers of an 88-year-old patient at the Winter Garden nursing home where she worked. Hours after the theft — which drew police to the facility — she was at the pawn shop swapping them for cash.

Gray, 30, was booked into the Orange County Jail on Wednesday. She faces felony charges of grand theft and exploitation of the elderly.

The investigation began about 10 a.m. Nov. 17 when the victim emerged from her room at Quality Health Care on West Colonial Drive, yelling that someone had stolen her rings.

According to an affidavit, the woman explained the theft had happened after breakfast.

She said a nursing assistant came into her room to take her food tray and offered to clean her rings. The patient said the worker then slid the rings off her fingers and left. Soon, the patient began to worry, “so she prayed about it and alerted the staff,” the affidavit states.

As the patient was describing the person who took the jewelry to a supervisor, Gray entered the hallway.

The victim “immediately stated that Jakovee was the one who took her rings,” police said. Once officers arrived, Gray in an interview confirmed she picked up the breakfast tray but denied taking the rings. She gave officers permission to search her. They found nothing.

But two days later, officers searched a pawn database and found that Gray had pawned a pair of rings at the shop in Haines City the same day that the patient’s rings were stolen. The transaction happened just 1 1/2 hours after police left the nursing home, the affidavit said.

The pawn shop is a roughly one-hour, 10-minute drive from Quality Health Care.

The shop’s owner said he remembered Gray, who had showed her license and given a fingerprint during the transaction. Surveillance video also recorded Gray entering the store, approaching the counter, signing the contract, receiving the money and then leaving, police said.

The victim’s son confirmed the rings were his mother’s, police said, given to her by his late father while the family lived in Cuba. One was a gold wedding band, the other a gold band with a gemstone attached. The son cried after seeing photos of the rings, police said.

Gray was being held on $15,000 bail as of Wednesday evening.

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