GIG HARBOR -- Two people were charged for stealing and reselling thousands of dollars in jewelry from seniors in Gig Harbor.
Police say Russell Grover, who was employed as a handyman at The Lakes retirement community, was fired by his employer last April when he was found inside a resident’s home with no explanation. Shortly after, residents reported missing jewelry.
The stolen jewelry includes wedding rings, anniversary rings, class rings, and family heirlooms – specifically a gold and pearl cross from a rosary that was on one of the last boats to go through immigration at Ellis Island.
Ron Talley reported his fiancée’s engagement ring missing.
“We’re not exactly sure when it did disappear,” said Ron, who noticed the ring was missing in February.
He and his fiancée, Paula Stockbridge, were shocked when police found the ring at a local pawn shop.
“The detective held up the ring in the evidence bag and the good news was he had it, but the bad news was they had to take it back to the evidence room,” she said.
Stockbridge wore the ring during their June wedding ceremony.
“I loved it and I still love it and I just can’t believe it’s on my hand,” she beamed.
Police said there are eight identified victims who range in age from 75 to 92 years old. An investigator said there are others who are unaware they are victims.
Police say Grover and his girlfriend Adrienne VanArsdale sold the jewelry, which could be valued at over $33,000, at pawn shops and gold businesses in Tacoma and Gig Harbor. An investigator pointed out the sales at those businesses are normally a fraction of what they are actually worth.
“Investigators were able to recover an engagement ring and return it to the victims two weeks before their wedding, and a diamond anniversary band stolen from a 92-year-old woman valued at over $5000,” authorities said in a press release.
Grover is charged with four counts of trafficking stolen property in the first degree. VanArsdale is charged with one count of trafficking stolen property in the first degree.