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Senior home director accused of stealing cash from resident with dementia

Former director of an independent living facility in Stuart accused of stealing from a resident. Image Courtesy: Martin County Sheriff's Office.

The former director of an independent living facility in Stuart is under arrest, accused of stealing cash from an elderly resident.

Authorities say she was caught on video committing the crime.

“You go in her room ‘cause you know she won’t be there and you steal her money? You don’t get any lower than that,” said Sgt. John Bowdoin, Martin Co. Sheriff’s Office.

According to the arrest report, Serafina Frahm, 53, of Palm City said she stole the hundreds of dollars in cash from an elderly resident to help a co-worker who needed to buy clothes.

Martin County Sheriff’s detectives say Frahm --- who until her arrest was the director of The Pointe at Ocean Boulevard, 2750 SE Ocean Blvd. ---stole $620 from an elderly resident’s purse.

“You don’t get any lower than that. These are elderly, this is an elderly lady with dementia,” Sgt. Bowdoin said.

The 82 year old resident’s son was concerned that his mother was going through money faster than usual so he set up a hidden camera in her room. He told sheriff’s detectives he caught Frahm on camera removing his mom’s wallet from her purse and swiping hundreds of dollars and that it happened more than once.

“I think it’s awesome. He took care of his mom. That’s what we should do,” said Sgt. Bowdoin.

After setting up the camera, the son hid in a closet and when Frahm entered the room and took the money, he confronted her and according to the arrest report, Frahm told him she would pay it back.

Sheriff’s detectives say Frahm had a master key to every resident’s door and they fear there may be more victims.

“Wow! That’s bad. How terrible. People can’t, you can’t do those kind of things to people,” said Marilyn Koza, a friend of a resident at The Pointe at Ocean Boulevard.

Detectives say Frahm may have been taking jewelry from residents too.

“People are people. They make mistakes. I’m sorry to hear it,” said Mike Higgins, resident of the facility.

“She’s doing something like that, it’s a shame. It really is. It’s a sin,” said Joan Corallo, another resident of the facility.

Frahm is now out of a job, facing charges of burglary and theft from a person 65 or older. Sgt. Bowdoin says she has confessed to taking the money.

“She was remorseful. She was crying. But she was really more apologetic. Please I can’t lose my job. Please don’t take me to jail,” Sgt. Bowdoin said.

A spokesman for The Pointe at Ocean Boulevard told CBS12 by phone “It’s an open investigation and at this time we’re cooperating with authorities. And that’s all we have to say.”

We could not reach Frahm for comment. She’s free on $5000 bond.

Those residents we spoke with said they’re staying. They have no plans to pack up and move out of the 150 apartment facility.

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