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Heroic Home Care Worker Helps Catch a Thief

Cheryl Miller, Executive Director of the Oregon Home Care Commission (left) and Joseph Lowe, Chair of the Oregon Home Care Commission (right) present home care worker Michelle Bolin with a "Home Care Hero Award" for her actions recently to apprehend a thief who stole over $100 from an elderly client.
Some quick thinking recently by a state home care worker enabled police to catch a thief who had stolen over $100 out of the purse of her 79 year old client.

Michelle Bolin was with her client Jean in the Cottage Grove Wal-Mart when the incident occurred. Michelle helps Jean with her home care needs.

Michelle was waiting for Jean outside the restroom when she noticed that Jean exited without her purse. As they went back in to the restroom to find it, a woman ran out, bumped into both of them and was clearly in a hurry. Michelle was suspicious. She quickly found Jean's purse on the floor in the restroom and realized that $102.00 in cash was missing. She took off after the woman and yelled "Stop that woman" but it was too late. The woman had disappeared.

Michelle jumped into action and explained to the Wal-Mart manager what happened. She asked him to call the police and check their surveillance camera. She gave the police an accurate description and combined with the video tape from the camera, they were able to get a license plate number and track the perpetrator down within three hours. All of the cash was recovered and was returned to Jean.

"All I could think of was how could someone do something like that to someone elderly and fragile," Michelle said. "It is very upsetting to think someone would take advantage of someone like Jean. I never thought they would be able to get the money back. I just thank God for the staff at Wal-Mart and the Cottage Grove Police Department who really took this seriously. Everyone was wonderful in working together to get this money returned. It made me feel so good."

"Michelle clearly went above and beyond to protect her client's resources," said Steve Larouche, Jean's case manager at DHS. "Police reported that Michelle's quick action and detailed description of the perpetrator was a key in the success of this arrest."

"With the high incidents of elder abuse in Douglas County, it is heart warming to hear about Michelle's actions.  We need more people like her to stand up in our communities and say we won't tolerate this kind of behavior toward our seniors," said Merry L. Bayly, Department of Human Services, Seniors and People with Disabilities District 6 Manager.

Michelle lives in Yoncalla with her husband. She has been a homecare worker for twelve years. She says she loves what she does and loves helping people.

Michelle recently received an award for her efforts from the Oregon Home Care Commission in Salem.