A cleaning lady was arrested Friday afternoon after her employer recently discovered that she had been stealing from her. Among the items taken was jewelry, cash, makeup and even clothing. Collaboration between Shomrim and local Neighborhood Coordination Officers from the 71st Precinct led to the arrest.
A Crown Heights family recently made a stunning discovery, not believing that it would happen to them – until it did. They discovered that their trusted cleaning lady who had been working in their house for over eight months has been consistently stealing from them from valuables, such as cash or jewelry, to clothing and food.
“In the beginning it was small stuff that was missing, small amounts of money from my wallet, never too much at once” said Dina Duchan, a local mother and a newborn photographer juggling her children and keeping up with the chores of running an active home.
Needing help she turned to a Brooklyn based agency and hired 41-year-old Luz Olivera from the Bronx and everything went well. “She was an excellent cleaning lady, cleaned well, always on time and never missing work” said Duchan.
“I was very comfortable with her, she was always there for 8 months and I didn’t really pay attention,” she said. “At first it was just a few lost things, but I never really thought it was possible, I didn’t suspect that she was stealing.
“About a month ago she informed me that she would be returning to her native Peru to be with her mother. It was after that where I really noticed lots of things going missing which forced me to take action.”
Unsure of what to do, Mrs. Duchan consulted with friends who suggested that she contact Crown Heights Shomrim, which she promptly did. After explaining the situation she was advised to collect evidence of wrongdoing, which she did by placing hidden cameras in her apartment – a move which quickly captured evidence of repeated theft.
In one incident Olivera was captured on camera taking cash and stuffing it into her shoe, and in another she was seen going through her employers purse as well as trying on her makeup and going through her drawers.
Shomrim then contacted officers in the 71st Precincts Neighborhood Coordination Officers and showed them the videos. The victim was advised to have Mrs. Rivera return to work Friday and call when she did.
Shomrim reached out to the NYPD and officers arrived at the designated time, and after reviewing the video once again they took her into custody and charged her with the thefts. “When they were taking her out in handcuffs she said sorry for stealing but she didn’t have any emotion, she didn’t feel back” Duchan said.
A search of Mrs. Olivera’s bag revealed that in the short time she was working on Friday she already stashed two pairs of pants, a few children’s headbands and even food from her fridge.
Duchan also contacted her neighbor whom Olivera worked for as well, and she said that only makeup had been missing.
“Without proof of theft there is little that can be done,” said a Shomrim spokesperson. “This victim showed impressive initiative by setting up cameras and working together with us to put an end to these thefts.”
He added that “we have had unfortunate cases were cleaning ladies were wrongly accused of a theft, which turned out to be a misplaced item instead, therefore it is important to set up cameras if you suspect something is amiss.”