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Apalachee Center employee accused of stealing nearly $10,000 from elderly patient

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Posted at 12:26 PM, Aug 02, 2019
and last updated 2019-08-02 12:27:14-04

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (WTXL) — An employee at the Apalachee Center has been charged with grand theft after being accused of stealing nearly $10,000 from a 89-year-old patient.

According to an arrest report, Tallahassee Police were called to the Apalachee Center in regards to a theft Wednesday afternoon. When officers arrived, they spoke with the reporting person who said his grandmother's money had been stolen after she was taken to the Apalachee Center on Sunday.

He told officers that the victim, who is 89, had approximately $9,100 on her person when she entered the intake process. Documents say the victim told officers that the money was in an envelope inside her purse when she was brought into the facility but the envelope was not there when she was released.

Officers then spoke to the intake director at the facility who informed them that she had already started an internal investigation. The director said she was able to find video footage of the victim entering the facility and said she noticed an employee, 21-year-old Darrell Stephens, take an envelope out of her property.

Police say video showed Stephens setting the envelope aside and continuing the intake process. Once it was over however, "Stephens could be seen handling and manipulating the envelope with the said $9,100 dollars inside of it," and, according to the director, the envelope was unaccounted for during the victim's admission process.

The director told officers Stephens was not permitted to touch any patient's property that way and allowed officers to interview him while he was still on shift at the facility.

When they spoke to him, documents say Stephens initially denied the allegations. But as officers continued speaking with him, they say he admitted to taking the money-filled envelope and stated that he plotted the theft along with his friend.

"Stephens also stated that his friend ... was in on it and helped him remove the money secretly from the facility," an investigator wrote. "Stephens told me that some of the money was inside of his car in the parking lot." With Stephens permission, police searched his car where they recovered approximately $2,985.

Based on the evidence, officers found probable cause to charge and arrest Stephens for grand theft ($5,000 or more, less than $10,000). Documents say he will be facing "administrative sanctions" from the Apalachee Center as a result of the incident.

Stephens has since gotten out of jail on a $2,500 bond.