|Nursing assistant stole wedding bands from ailing veterans|
Wednesday, August 1, 2012
By KEN BRADLEY - Staff Writer
A Rocky Mount woman charged with stealing wedding rings from elderly veterans at a health care center pleaded no contest Monday in Roanoke Circuit Court.
Brittney Heather Cook, 23, pleaded no contest to four counts of grand larceny and four counts of selling stolen property.
A no contest plea is a form of a guilty plea.
Cook was a nursing assistant at the Virginia Veterans Center in Roanoke when the thefts of the rings occurred on Jan. 14 and 15, according to Roanoke Assistant Commonwealth's Attorney Josh Dietz.
Two charges of obtaining money by false pretense were dismissed through a plea agreement, Dietz said.
The maximum sentence Cook could receive is 120 years in prison. She is scheduled to be sentenced on Oct. 3.
Another nursing assistant, Ashley Michelle Sweeney, 23, of Ferrum pleaded guilty on July 10 to four counts of receiving stolen property and four counts of selling stolen property. Two charges of obtaining money by false pretense were dismissed through a plea agreement.
Sweeney also faces up to 120 years in prison. She is scheduled to be sentenced Sept. 25
Dietz said Cook and Sweeney were working as contract nursing assistants when they were arrested in February during an investigation of ring thefts at the veterans care center.
The rings were sold at two pawn shops for $360, Dietz said. An appraisal of the rings valued them at $4,600.
Both women are barred from working as nursing assistants and from having contact with each other.
Dietz said the victims in the case were elderly, ranging in age from 77 to 89, and had served either in World War II or the Korean War.