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Police charge caregiver with theft

Mail Tribune

A Medford police investigation into the reported disappearance of nearly $51,000 in cash from an elderly man's home uncovered $100,000 stashed in the trunk of his caregiver's car, but it wasn't the cash he reported missing.

Medford police Lt. Tim Doney said Friday the caregiver, Mary Kay Dunlap, 55, of the 400 block of Greenleaf Drive, Eagle Point, has been charged with first-degree theft and first-degree criminal mistreatment in connection with her alleged misuse of $2,000 of the man's money last winter.

On July 13, the 86-year-old man reported about $51,000 cash had been taken from his home while he was hospitalized in June, Doney said.

During the investigation, detectives interviewed Dunlap and others about the money. When Dunlap came to the police station to talk with investigators on Wednesday, detectives determined that she had accepted $2,000 from the man in December outside of her regular responsibilities and pay, Doney said.

For that, she was charged with first-degree theft and first-degree criminal mistreatment.

Doney said she then told detectives that in mid-July, shortly after the $51,000 theft was reported, the man had given her $100,000 to hold for safekeeping. She took them to her car, where she had the money in her trunk. She had stored the cash in her car for nearly two weeks, police said.

Officers seized the cash — bundles of large bills, many still in the bands from a bank — and are now working with the man and Department of Human Services officials to ensure his assets are safeguarded in a financial institution. The man's wife died last fall and he doesn't have other family in the area, police said.

Doney said he didn't have details about why the man kept large amounts of cash in his direct possession. He noted that many elders who lived through the Great Depression of the 1930s have a distrust of banks and can be prone to hoarding.

Doney said the investigation into the first $51,000 reported missing is ongoing.

Reach reporter Anita Burke at 776-4485, or e-mail aburke@mailtribune.com.