Friday, October 27, 2000

Maid charged in theft of diamond, other jewelry




By Jane Prendergast
The Cincinnati Enquirer

        People paid her to clean their houses. But once inside, police say, she helped herself to a little extra compensation and pawned it or buried it in her back yard.

        Investigators tracked pawned jewelry to as far away as Chicago to piece together their case against Kelly Shell, operator of Maid Easy Cleaning Service.

        Ms. Shell, 38, of Anderson Township, has been indicted on five counts of felony theft. She is accused of taking more than $37,000 worth of jewelry, including a 2-carat diamond ring.

        The alleged serial thefts began to unravel when one client called police to report she suspected her cleaning lady of stealing some jewelry, Cincinnati Police Detective Mike Phillips said.

        The client then decided to check with some other people who hired the same service, he said, and that turned up more suspicious clients and more missing jewelry.

        That led Detectives Phillips and Tina Ziegler to pawn shops in Amelia and Springdale, where stolen items were found, and to a Florence store where some items were sold, he said.

        The Springdale shop had sent the diamond ring, pawned for $3,000, to be repaired in Chicago, but it has since been returned to its owner.

        Ms. Shell admitted to the thefts in stages, Detective Phillips said, first denying some but then leading them to a package wrapped in duct tape that she had buried under a back-yard shed.

        Ms. Shell also is accused of taking a blank prescription pad from a physician's home. Police are investigating some prescriptions written on the stolen pad.

        She faces up to 6 1/2 years in prison if convicted.

       



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