Attorneys involved in the case of a woman accused of stealing more than 3,000 items from nursing homes, including jewelry, are trying to work out a plea deal.
Susan Gwynne, 55, of Columbus, is charged with more than 100 counts of theft, burglary and receiving stolen property. Attorneys say they are working on a plea agreement before the case goes to trial later this month in Delaware County Common Pleas Court.
Gwynne appeared before Delaware County Common Pleas Judge David Gormley Monday afternoon for a final pretrial hearing before her jury trial begins on Aug. 16.
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.
At the hearing, Gormley asked for an update from assistant county prosecutor Amelia Bean-DeFlumer. Bean-DeFlumer said she had spoken to Gwynne’s attorney, David Birch, and believes “resolution is a possibility.”
Birch also told Gormley that Gwynne has asked him to explore the possibility and confessed that if they aren’t able to reach an agreement before trial, he will likely ask for a continuance. Birch said because there is a “monstrous” amount of evidence in the case, he would need time to prepare an adequate defense.
Gormley said he would leave the trial scheduled for Aug. 16 and the parties can file motions with any changes.
Gormley also allowed Gwynne to address the court regarding her bail. Gwynne asked Gormley to allow her to be released from jail and be placed on house arrest because she had health issues, like arthritis. However, Gormley said he believed her bail of $150,000 was fair and denied her request. He said he would remain open-minded in the future.
Gwynne was in the Delaware County Jail Monday afternoon. Prosecutors estimate her trial would take at least a week.
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, located at 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 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.
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.
Glenn Battishill can be reached at 740-413-0903 or on Twitter @BattishillDG.