BAYTOWN, Texas - A housekeeper stole $60,000 worth of jewelry from the homes of her clients, according to Baytown police.
Betrayed by someone she trusted in her home, Sarah Wahl said she is now missing thousands of dollars worth of jewelry.
"My engagement ring from 45 years ago, things my father and my grandfather had given me, (are) gone," said Wahl.
She said she first noticed diamond earrings missing, then an antique pocket watch, necklaces and more. Wahl mentioned it to her daughter and daughter-in-law, who quickly realized items were also missing from their homes.
Wahl said the common thread was a cleaning lady they all used from M&M Cleaning Company.
"It's amazing that she got away with it for as long as she did," said Wahl. "It was very upsetting."
Wahl went to Baytown police, who questioned the cleaning lady.
"She did confess to the thefts, was quite embarrassed about it and did apologize," said Detective Brian Parker.
Parker said the cleaning woman then led officers to an enormous stash of 80 pieces of jewelry she hid in a trashcan at her neighborhood Laundromat. Parker said they discovered more jewelry in the cleaning woman's home and at local pawn shops.
Parker said they are gathering a list of all the victims and plan to arrest the cleaning lady and pursue felony theft charges.
The owner of M&M Cleaning Company, Monica Salazar, said she fired the accused cleaning lady and is cooperating with police. Salazar said at least 40 of her clients were victims. Salazar said she has insurance bonding to cover the thefts, but will also make some changes.
"We will continue to be bonded and be more selective now with our employees," she said.
Salazar also said she believes the accused housekeeper used a fake ID to gain employment.
As for Wahl, her cherished pieces of jewelry are among many still missing.
"I don't know that mine will ever be recovered," said Wahl.
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