VALPARAISO | A Michigan City couple pleaded guilty Tuesday to stealing more than $100,000 from an elderly, blind Chesterton woman they had been helping care for over a period of three years.
Robbin and Bary Bostic each pleaded guilty to a Class C felony count of theft. The plea calls for a sentence of eight years behind bars, with all but time served up to sentencing to be suspended and the balance spent on probation.
The couple have been locked up at the county jail since Nov. 7 and will receive an additional day off their sentence for each day served.
The proposed plea agreement, which was taken under advisement by Porter Circuit Court Judge Mary Harper until July 16, calls for the couple to take part in program of intensive monitoring and classes, said Porter County Deputy Prosecutor Andrew Bennett.
Up to three-fourths of the missing assets have been returned to the victim, Bennett said. The couple will be responsible for paying back the balance during their period of probation.
Robbin, 40, and Bary, 48, pleaded guilty to stealing gold, silver and platinum coins and bars, jewelry and cash between January and April 2012.
Police said they were alerted to the theft March 16 after responding to a burglary complaint at the woman's downtown-area home. The woman was living in a Michigan City hotel at the time because of a mold problem, which police later discovered to be minimal enough not to have warranted her move.
Police said they learned another woman had gained temporary co-guardianship of the victim and had the locks changed. The guardian said she suspected the woman's savings account was being "drained" and told police Robbin Bostic's mother was the only one with a key to the safe since the Chesterton woman's husband died a few months earlier.
The owners of the White-Love Funeral Home in Chesterton said they became suspicious when Robbin Bostic told them during the wake for the woman's husband that she discovered someone attempting to gain access to the safe in question but did not call police, according to court documents. Police also were told that when Robbin Bostic later arrived at the funeral home to pick up death certificates, she said she had just purchased a new truck and a new home on several acres where they intended to live with the Chesterton woman.
Police said they learned the Bostics had rented a storage unit in their name with a check from the Chesterton woman. They also learned the Bostics had taken gold, silver and platinum coins and bars valued at more than $220,000 to sell to a jeweler, who had done business over the past 30 years with the woman's late husband.
Robbin Bostic also was reportedly found to have the woman's wedding ring sets and other jewelry, but claimed they were a gift from the woman.