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Nurse’s Aide Charged With Stealing From 80-Year-Old Patient

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KNOXVILLE, Iowa -- A nurse's aide in Knoxville is out of a job after she was accused of stealing from a nursing home resident.

Wanda Sue Vanwyk, 42, was arrested Monday and asked not to come back to work.

Police say Vanwyk, of Prairie City, stole cash and a credit card from an 80-year-old woman residing at the West Ridge Nursing and Rehabilitation Center in Knoxville.

“The credit card provider called them and said that some strange charges had been charged to her card,” said Knoxville Police Lt. Aaron Fuller.

The family of the alleged victim contacted authorities and said the woman was also missing $300 in cash. Police say Vanwyk spent or charged a total of $1,250.

Knoxville residents say they are shocked by the allegations.

"That's a terrible thing, taking nursing home people's money. Taking credit cards and stuff like that. That's horrible,” said Johnny Battistello.

Vanwyk is facing several charges including ongoing criminal conduct, dependent adult abuse and theft.

Police say she made purchases at Wal-Mart and Bass Pro Shops in Altoona around Christmas time.

A spokesperson for the nursing home says he hopes this is an isolated incident.

“I think the process hopefully worked. And when you have a criminal matter, which is alleged here, what we hope is that of the processes kicked in from the criminal side, justice side of things,” said Jason Birdie.

Police recommend nursing home residents take precautions to protect their possessions such as having a lock box to keep their valuables.

“Not only do you have nurses or nurses’ aides, you would have janitors, you would have cooks who could have access, any kind of staff coming into work on a refrigerator or an air conditioner."

An investigation is ongoing as police say there could be other victims in the nursing home.