Thief steals from elderly, goes to prison

A 61-year-old Langley woman is going to prison for stealing money and jewelry from rooms at a Freeland assisted living facility.

Concetta Lauro pleaded guilty in Island County Superior Court May 26 to two counts of residential burglary.

Judge Alan Hancock agreed with the sentencing recommendation presented by both the prosecution and defense under a plea bargain. He sentenced Lauro to a year and two months in prison, which is at the high end of the standard sentencing range.

Also, Hancock ordered Lauro to pay $1,672 in fines and fees and any possible restitution was reserved.

Deputy Rick Felici with the Island County Sheriff’s Office investigated a series of burglaries at Maple Ridge Assisted Living Community last October. Seven residents reported that cash or jewelry had disappeared from their rooms while they were away.

The facility manager purchased a covert video camera and a resident set it up in her room before she went on vacation. When the resident returned, she found that she had captured a burglary on tape.

According to Felici’s report, the video shows Lauro, an employee at the facility, rifling through cabinets and drawers in the room. The manager said Lauro had no reason to be in the room in the first place.

After she was arrested, Lauro admitted that she stole the money and jewelry from about seven rooms. The deputy searched the small room she rented in Langley and recovered some of the stolen jewelry.

A couple of the residents wrote victim impact statements for Lauro’s sentencing hearing, but the two women came to very different conclusions. One woman wrote that she thinks it’s unlikely that Lauro will ever commit another burglary after the embarrassment of getting caught. She asserted that counseling and probation would be a sufficient sentence.

The other victim wrote that it’s “terrible to believe” that someone could commit such a crime.

“The defendant took significant advantage of the elderly people she had been entrusted to care for,” she wrote.

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