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Caretaker accused of stealing jewelry from Cape couple

By Staff | Dec 6, 2011

A North Fort Myers woman has been changed with grand theft, dealing in stolen property and violation of the pawnbroker act after police say she stole jewelry from a couple for whom she was caring.

Melanie Roff, 49, was employed as a health care service provider and had been caring for a Cape couple in their home since April, police said in a statement issued Monday. After several formal visits, she began making informal visits to the home, according to police, who added the couple began to notice that jewelry was missing from an armoire where it was stored.

This occurred over several weeks.

On Nov. 12, Roff reportedly came to the couple’s home and asked to borrow some towels for a benefit event. They told police she shut the bedroom door behind her, which struck them as odd, and also seemed to be taking a lot of time to get the towels from the master bath.

One of the victims entered the bedroom and told police they saw Roff close the jewelry armoire and enter the bathroom.

The couple later found a sapphire earring on the bathroom floor but could not find its match. They also discovered that a necklace was missing and called police.

On. Nov. 23, Det. Michael Toleman found Roff had had “several transactions” involving jewelry sales with second-hand dealers. One included the sale of a necklace immediately following the towel incident at the couple’s home, police said.

Police collected transaction paperwork, including Roff’s thumbprint, and the dealers identified Roff as the person who had sold the necklace, subsequently identified as belonging to the Cape couple.

Roff was interviewed on Nov. 30 and reportedly admitted to selling the jewelry, which she said did not belong to the Cape couple. She reportedly could not remember from whom or when she had purchased the necklace, police said, adding Toleman then placed her under arrest.

Roff has posted bond and has been released from the Lee County Jail.

Roff could not be reached for comment. Directory assistance said there was no number listed under her name or for the address provided.