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Amazon Alexa Prevents Nursing Home Robbery

When a Florida man snuck into Brookdale Assisted Living, he didn’t count on Alexa standing at attention.

According to the Daytona Beach News-Journal, the intruder entered a 90-year-old man’s room, rifling through the resident’s wallet for cash and credit cards in full view of the Amazon device — and the resident’s daughter, who watched from Alaska.

The daughter immediately alerted her sister who lived near the assisted living facility, who then headed to the home and found the man still in the resident’s room.

The intruder fled when confronted, but was quickly outpaced by Ormond Beach police.

Caught in the Act — Yet Senior Home Thief Denies Robbery

The intruder gave a fake name to the authorities and claimed he was at the facility to see his aunt. He said he was in the room of the 90-year-old man because they were talking.

The thief denied previous arrests, but police knew they had encountered him before.

In 2016, a string of scams against elderly homeowners ravaged the area. The perpetrator stole money from his victims by offering to do jobs like pressure washing or painting, only to take the money and do nothing.

One 78-year-old woman lost $7,000 after this same man went into her house to supposedly check her phone. Only later did she discover the cash missing. Two other residents were cheated out of a total of $1,200.

It took seven months for police to follow his trail, but they eventually found him in South Carolina posing as a pastor and collecting money for tornado victims.

These incidents highlight the dangers of elder financial abuse. While it may not be as obvious as physical or emotional abuse, it can be just as harmful to seniors, who may not realize the problem until it is too late.

Police Seeking Others Who May Have Been Victimized

In the wake of the incident, the police charged the man with a laundry list of crimes.

These charges include:

  • Battery
  • Burglary with assault or battery
  • Two counts of petty theft
  • Grand theft
  • Four counts of organized scheme to defraud
  • Possession of paraphernalia
  • Possession of a schedule II substance
  • Two counts of burglary of an occupied dwelling
  • Two counts of fleeing or attempting to elude

He now sits in the Volusia County Jail without bail.

As police investigated, they identified additional victims at other assisted living facilities in the area, and officer Keith Walker believes there may be more residents who were robbed.

“We are asking that family members please reach out to any loved ones who are staying in assisted living facilities in the area to ensure they have not been victimized,” Walker said.

Upon reaching out to the corporate offices of Brookdale Assisted Living to ask what procedures were in place in their facilities to keep out unwanted guests, no response was given.

Elder Financial Abuse Is Not Uncommon in Senior Living

Financial abuse is a type of elder abuse that has grown alarmingly in recent years, according to the National Adult Protective Services Organization (NAPSA). Not only does it affect elders that live on their own, it also is a big problem in nursing homes.

Most often, the thievery comes from nursing home staff, as in the case of a Chicago woman who was bilked out of over $300,000 at the Lincoln Park Nursing Home where she lived.

The nursing home’s business manager and activities director helped themselves to a 98-year-old’s account by taking vacations, buying jewelry and frequenting the ATM — all on the aged woman’s dime.

Cook County charged both women with felonies this past fall and discovered other employees also in on the thievery of the woman who had no living relatives.

If your elderly loved one is in a nursing home, make sure to keep a close watch on their finances. Also, see how Alexa and other devices can keep your loved ones safe from elder abuse, whether it be physical, emotional, or financial.

Nursing Home Abuse Support Team

The Nursing Home Abuse Center (NHAC) was founded to bring justice to those affected by nursing home and elder abuse. Our mission is to educate and empower victims of abuse and their families to take a stand against this unlawful mistreatment. We work to return dignity back to those who have been broken down by nursing home abuse and neglect.

View Sources

Bridges, C.A. (2020, Jan. 9). A would-be thief entered an elderly resident’s room at an Ormand Beach assisted living facility an d an Amazon Alexa device alerted family. Retrieved from: https://www.news-journalonline.com/news/20200109/alexa-catches-lsquohurricane-handymanrsquo-stealing-from-assisted-living-facility-residents-police-say

Cherney, E. (2019, Oct. 7). Two former nursing home workers charged with stealing lifesavings from resident with dementia. Retrieved from: https://www.chicagotribune.com/news/ct-lincoln-park-nursing-home-workers-charged-theft-20191007-ge2zyi5k3fhj3nrbtgtjr5tyga-story.html

Hazen, B. (2020, Jan. 10). Amazon Alexa catches man stealing from Florida nursing home residents. Retrieved from: https://www.wfla.com/news/florida/amazon-alexa-catches-man-stealing-from-florida-nursing-home-residents/

National Adult Protective Services Organization. (n.d.). Elder Financial Exploitation. Retrieved from: https://www.napsa-now.org/get-informed/exploitation-resources/