Prosecutors have issued an ultimatum to the attorney representing a woman accused of stealing more than 3,000 items from nursing homes, including jewelry.

The ultimatum: plead guilty to the indictment or go to trial.

Susan Gwynne, 55, of Columbus, faces more than 100 counts of theft, burglary and receiving stolen property in Delaware County Common Pleas Court. She is alleged to have dressed like a health-care worker and gone into nursing homes in Delaware and Franklin counties and stolen from residents.

A local judge granted Gwynne’s request for a delay and scheduled a new trial date of Sept. 29.

Public defender David Birch filed a motion on Aug. 5, asking Delaware County Common Pleas Judge David Gormley to delay the Aug. 16 trial for Gwynne.

In his motion for the continuance, Birch states that he and prosecutors had been discussing a resolution to the case and adds that prosecutors have withdrawn any offers and “indicated plea to the indictment or go to trial.”

“Obviously the matter will go to trial,” Birch states in the motion. Birch asked Gormley for additional time to prepare for the case because there is a large amount of evidence. Birch states in his motion that prosecutors have 12 discs of evidence and plan to call 91 witnesses during the trial.

Gormley granted Birch’s motion and scheduled a new trial for Sept. 29.

The trial is expected to take at least a week.

Gwynne is facing 31 counts of burglary, which are second-degree felonies; 43 felony counts of theft; 12 counts of possessing criminal tools, which are fifth-degree felonies; and 15 counts of receiving stolen property, which are first-degree misdemeanors.

Gwynne was in the Delaware County Jail Wednesday afternoon.

Prosecutors say Gwynne stole more than than 3,000 items from 13 assisted living facilities in Delaware and Franklin counties over the past eight years. The items were recovered after a search warrant was executed at Gwynne’s home on March 26. She was indicted by a Delaware County grand jury on June 15.

Prosecutors said most of the crime scenes are in Franklin County. The Delaware County assisted living facilities affected were The Inn at Olentangy Trail and Abbington of Powell.

An investigation of the stolen jewelry began after deputies received a call in January regarding a theft from an elderly woman living at The Inn at Olentangy Trail, 6 Corduroy Road, Delaware.

Stolen items included cash, credit cards and Social Security cards. Prosecutors said at Gwynne’s arraignment that several stolen items were also recovered from area pawn shops.

Prosecutors said that since the initial report, other victims have come forward. Prosecutors said the indictment lists 31 victims who are in their 70s, 80s and 90s. The oldest victim is 101 years old.

The indictment alleges that Gwynne has been stealing from victims since April 2008. The last theft was in March 2016, court documents indicate. Deputies report that investigators learned of the older crimes while investigating the 2016 thefts.


By Glenn Battishill

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Glenn Battishill can be reached at 740-413-0903 or on Twitter @BattishillDG.