Caretaker accused of stealing $37,500 in jewelry, artifacts

Suspect charged with exploitation of the elderly

PALM COAST, Fla. – A caretaker is accused of stealing tens of thousands of dollars worth of jewelry, artifacts and cash from an 86-year-old man suffering from a series of strokes, according to the Flagler County Sheriff's Office.

Emma Kendrick said she and her partner of 10 years, Robert Dumas, hired Anthony Eastman, 44, to care for Dumas after he suffered a series of strokes.

About two weeks after Eastman started looking after 86-year-old Dumas, the couple noticed some of their valuables were missing.

"I was getting ready to take off a piece of jewelry, and that's when I realized that my jewelry's missing, and the money was missing and Bob's things were missing," Kendrick said.

Kendrick told deputies on May 6 that two diamond rings, a diamond necklace, a gold cross, a gold necklace with a gold pendant, two 18 carat gold necklaces, two gold men's rings, a gold necklace with earrings and an envelope with six $100 bills were missing, the arrest report said. The items were valued at $21,900.

The victim told deputies she suspected Eastman took the cash and jewelry because he was the only with access to the home. She said Eastman works for American In-home Care and came recommended from a veteran's organization.

"I'm really, really shocked, because I never believed he would do this," Kendrick said.

On May 7, the couple realized more items were missing -- three African artifacts worth between $5,000 to $10,000, according to the report. Dumas acquired the artifacts during the decade that he lived in Africa as an American ambassador.

Deputies said the stolen items are valued at approximately $37,500.

Eastman denied stealing the items during an interview with deputies on May 10, but then the next day the couple found a bag on their door containing most of the stolen items, minus two rings, a necklace and the three artifacts, authorities said.

Surveillance video showed Eastman's vehicle in the parking garage around the same time the bag was left on the door, according to the arrest report.

Dumas said even though most of the items have been returned, his trust for Eastman is gone.

"I don't know how you could be this way. We tried to treat you like we would treat anyone," Dumas said.

Eastman was arrested Thursday on a charge of exploitation of the elderly. American In-home Care said all of its employees are required to pass a background check. Eastman has been terminated as a home healthcare provider, the company said.