Camera catches aide stealing 81-year-old woman's painkillers

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Camera catches aide stealing 81-year-old's painkillers. Nora Muchanic reports during Action News at 10 p.m. on May 9, 2017. (WPVI)

A home health care aide was caught on camera allegedly stealing from her Burlington County patient.

Hugh Craton suspected someone was stealing money from his 81-year-old mother's Evesham home, and so last Friday, he installed a secret camera in her bedroom.

"I was expecting to just see somebody take money, but then when I saw her taking my mom's prescription pills, that was just a whole other level," Hugh Craton said.

The next morning, Craton's suspicions were confirmed by video of his mother's home health aide reaching into a drawer for her wallet and stealing cash and painkillers.

"My reaction? Oh, I was sick to my stomach, actually. I mean, I couldn't believe somebody is doing this to my mom," Craton said.

Craton took his evidence to police, who've arrested 40-year-old Leanne Tucker of Williamstown on theft charges.

"We do know this happened numerous times in this home. We don't know if this same suspect targeted other homes or who else she provides for," Lt. Joseph Friel of the Evesham Township Police Department said.

Police say the Right at Home Agency of Cherry Hill is cooperating. A spokesman says client safety is a top priority and the company ran a state-mandated criminal background check on Tucker that came back clean.

The case comes just as the state division of Consumer Affairs is expanding its Safe Care Cam program which lends hidden cameras or "nanny cams" free of charge to individuals to use at home. Now, people can borrow and use them in nursing homes and care facilities, too.

"Hopefully deterring individuals who are thinking about not giving medication on time or stealing something from someone's home or from their room, to let them know we just might be watching," New Jersey Attorney General Christopher Porrino said.

The attorney general says videos don't lie and police agree.

"If you're protecting children, you have a babysitter, if you have a home health care provider I see nothing wrong with it. Same thing as body cameras. If you're doing nothing wrong, there's nothing to worry about it," Lt. Friel said.

The state is also now requiring that home health aides have criminal background checks completed before they begin working in homes.
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