By Carol Christian
January 25, 2012
A Houston housekeeper is in jail, accused of stealing more than $310,000 in jewelry from elderly clients in North Harris County over a period of several years.
Mary Jones Smith, 57, allegedly took expensive rings, necklaces, bracelets and cuff links from nine clients in the Champions area, according to court documents.
Four of the clients were sick with life-threatening diseases and Smith served as their caregiver, according to Harris County Precinct 4 Constable Ron Hickman's office.
In December, a woman reported to a Precinct 4 deputy that she had noticed jewelry missing from her home in April but she didn't do anything about it at the time because she was fighting cancer, court records state.
The woman told an investigator that she suspected Smith, her housekeeper, had taken a 14-karat ruby diamond dinner ring.
An investigator tracked down the ring through LeadsOnline, an investigative pawn shop database, and found the item at a Houston pawn shop.
Smith had allegedly pawned the ring on Dec. 1, according to a complaint filed Tuesday by the Harris County District Attorney's Office.
Smith told investigators she had been stealing jewelry from the woman for two years, the complaint states.
Pawn shop records showed Smith had completed 35 jewelry transactions at area pawn shops since January 2009, according to the complaint.
The estimated value of the alleged thefts ranged from $2,670 to nearly $177,000.
Investigators with a special unit in Hickman's office worked with area pawn shops and gold buyers to crack the case.
Smith, who is being held on $500,000 bond, is due in court Thursday.