TUCSON – A 92-year-old man had his wedding ring stolen from the retirement community where he was living. It was a family heirloom that had been in the family for five generations.
Pima County Sheriff’s Department Detective Jenika Bates said it was stolen 2.5 years ago from Amber Lights.
John Eikenberry has advanced stages of Alzheimer’s. His son, Eric told News 4 Tucson his father wore his wedding ring for 70 years until it was stolen. He added his father may not remember what he had for breakfast, but he always asked him about his wedding ring.
His two sons live out of town. When they came to visit him, they turned his room inside out looking for the family heirloom. They said they even questioned the caregiver who acted surprised and said she had never seen their father’s ring.
The son said he knew right then and there she was a suspect. By chance, Eric had taken a picture of his dad’s ring. That picture was turned over to the sheriff’s department when they filed the police report.
The ring is valued at $15,000.
Bates added the caregiver, 45-year-old Mina Beas-Campo, was questioned in 2016, but there was no evidence to tie her to the theft.
Fast forward to last September, the detective received information about the theft.
She found the ring in a pawn shop, compared it to the picture the family gave her and it was a match. She also sent a picture of the ring from the pawn shop to the family and they confirmed it was their dad’s ring.
Bates said she questioned Beas-Campo. This time they had the evidence they needed. The 45-year old caregiver turned herself in.
The detective said Amber Lights suspended Beas-Campo and then eventually terminated her. She had worked for the facility for 10 years.
Beas-Campo was booked into the Pima County Jail and charged with felony theft.
On Friday, the sons will be giving their father his ring. He has since been moved to hospice care in another facility.