Nursing-home theft suspect now in county jail

By Glenn Battishill -

A Columbus woman accused of stealing nearly 3,000 pieces of jewelry from residents of assisted living facilities turned herself in last night to Columbus authorities and now is being held in the Delaware County Jail.


Susan Gwynne, 55, of 5540 Ravine Bluff Court, Columbus, was indicted on 101 charges Wednesday by a Delaware County grand jury in connection with thousands of items stolen from the assisted living facilities over the past eight years. Authorities believe that Gwynne posed as an employee of the facilities and stole items while residents were out of their rooms.

As of The Gazette’s press time last night, she had not been arrested — even though authorities seized the stolen goods at her home weeks ago.

A warrant had been issued for her arrest but officials from the Delaware County Sheriff’s Office said Thursday afternoon that no arrest had been made yet. Officials add that agents from the U.S. Marshal’s office were assisting in Gwynne’s apprehension.

Gwynne was indicted on 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.

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, located at 3971 Bradford Road, 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 Trial, located at 6 Corduroy Road, Delaware.

“After the initial call, the Delaware County Sheriff’s Office released a picture of the suspect which had been captured on surveillance video at the assisted living facility,” said Delaware County Prosecutor Carol O’Brien.

Tracy Whited, a spokeswoman for the sheriff’s office, said Wednesday that a caller from another county contacted deputies and told them Gwynne’s identity. Whited confirmed that Gwynne is the person in the surveillance photo.

“Further investigation resulted in a search warrant being issued for Susan Gwynne’s residence and the seizure of more than 3,000 items, mostly jewelry,” O’Brien said.

Even though the search warrant was executed weeks ago, authorities did not arrest Gwynne. Whited explained that prosecutors and detectives were building a case to present to the grand jury.

Deputies reported other missing items included cash, credit cards and Social Security cards. Prosecutors said Thursday that several stolen items were also recovered from area pawn shops.

Prosecutors said that since the initial report and release of Gwynne’s photo, additional 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.

Deputies reported Gwynne stole from at least a dozen senior living facilities in both Delaware and Franklin counties. The Delaware County Prosecutor’s Office is working with the Franklin County Prosecutor’s Office to prosecute the case.

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

An arraignment in Delaware County Common Pleas Court has not been scheduled. Judge David Gormley will preside over the case.

By Glenn Battishill

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

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