A San Luis Obispo woman was arrested last month on suspicion of stealing $100,000 and a car from an elderly man with Alzheimer’s, the San Luis Obispo Police Department said.
The SLO man’s family contacted the department in early May, just after he had moved out of state to be closer to family because he had been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s and was in poor health.
The family called law enforcement when they saw unauthorized amounts of money withdrawn from the man’s bank accounts. The family also reported that the man’s car had been taken and no one knew where it was, police said. The family told police they believed a woman named Sapphire Grace was responsible for the theft.
When police investigated, they found that Sapphire Grace was an alias that had been used by a woman named Candice Kato for the past 20 years, police said. Authorities also discovered about $100,000 in fraudulently obtained money from the victim’s accounts.
Officials found Kato in May, as she was trying to cash a forged check belonging to the victim, police said. At that time, Kato was driving the victim’s stolen car. She was arrested on suspicion of possessing a stolen vehicle, trying to pass forged checks, and possessing a fake California driver’s license in the name of Sapphire Grace. She was taken to the San Luis Obispo County Jail, where she is being held in lieu of $250,000 bail.
Additional charges of elder abuse and identity theft are being sought against Kato, police said.
Authorities said they believe this isn’t the first time Kato has taken advantage of an elderly acquaintance, and they are looking for other potential victims. Anyone with information about the crime is asked to call Det. Michael L’Heureux at 805-594-8038 or Crime Stoppers at 805-549-7867.