Former caregiver accused of stealing from elderly people

AUSTIN, Texas -- A woman who formerly worked as a caretaker for elderly people is accused of stealing from two of the people she cared for in Austin, according to police. 

The Austin Police Department said Laura Yvette Martinez, 30, walked into the unlocked front door of a residence on July 28 while the alleged victim was with her caregiver. Martinez allegedly told the caregiver that she used to work with the elderly woman and was there to check on her. Martinez was then left alone with the victim for a short period of time.

Later that evening, the victim discovered that her wallet, $300 in cash, a Visa card and her house and car keys were missing. The next day, the victim discovered that her car was stolen and that her wallet had been returned without the cash and credit card. She also noticed that a coin purse with a large amount of money was missing, police said.

The same day, an 85-year-old woman was at her home on  Spicewood Parkway with her caregiver when someone, later identified as Martinez, knocked on the door. The caregiver at the home told police she was expecting a new hire to show up for training and asked Martinez if she was that person. Martinez said yes and was let in the door. After the caregiver took the 85-year-old woman to the bathroom, Martinez told her that she did not have time to train and left. The following day, it was discovered that the woman was missing more than $350, according to police.

After the incidents were reported, the director of operations for the health care agency showed photographs of all caregivers to the victims, who positively identified Martinez as the person who had been in their homes.

The first victim discovered the following unauthorized charges on her stolen credit card between July 28 and July 30:

  • $77.09 at the Cheesecake Factory
  • $381.96 at Southwest Airlines
  • $1,188.59 at Apple
  • $7.35 at Regal Metropolitan Cinemas
  • $324.55 at Time Warner Cable
  • $66 at Metro PCS

When police reached out to those different businesses, they said the person who used the stolen credit card was identified as Martinez. 

Martinez, who is currently in custody at the Travis County Jail, has been charged with burglary of a habitation and six counts of credit card/debit card abuse of an elderly.

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