A Richfield man has been charged with stealing jewelry from a relative in Lakeville while the woman was hospitalized last spring.
Joseph John Litchy, 21, is charged with felony theft, which carries a maximum penalty of five years in prison and a $10,000 fine.
According to the criminal complaint, a Lakeville woman told police that she left the home that she shares with her mother on March 23 and found Litchy, her cousin, sleeping in a car in the driveway.
The woman said she let Litchy into the house, then she left to visit her mother, who was in the hospital’s intensive care unit. When she told her mother that she’d let Litchy inside, her mother told her to “hide the jewelry” because Litchy couldn’t be trusted.
The woman returned home later that day and found Litchy missing, along with some of her mother’s jewelry, according to the complaint.
The woman sent Litchy a text message, asking him about the missing jewelry. Litchy denied taking anything, but wouldn’t take any more phone calls from his cousin.
The woman told police that Litchy had been “having problems,” and that his mother told her that she had found pawn receipts.
Investigators contacted a local pawn shop three days later and learned that Litchy had pawned 10 pieces of jewelry the same day they were reported stolen. Police confiscated all the jewelry and obtained surveillance video showing Litchy taking the jewelry from his pocket and putting it on the pawn shop counter, the complaint says.
The woman told police that all the jewelry belonged to her mother. The pawn shop paid Litchy more than $1,000 for the jewelry, although the jewelry’s value was determined to be “significantly more,” according to the complaint.
Litchy is scheduled to make a first appearance on the charge Nov. 19 in Dakota County District Court in Hastings.