DERRY, Pa. (KDKA/AP) – Two Westmoreland County women have been charged with stealing thousands of dollars from two elderly sisters and using the money to attend dog shows.
A show-quality St. Bernard can set you back anywhere from $600 to $2,000.
State Police say 30-year-old Jessica Skacel, of Derry Township, didn’t have pockets deep enough to support her hobby of taking St. Bernards to kennel club shows.
“There was one woman who was doing most of the stealing,” said Trooper Steve Limani, of Pennsylvania State Police.
In 2011, Skacel was hired to come to the home of two elderly sisters in Blairsville to help with their cats and daily housekeeping.
At some point, police say Skacel allegedly began stealing money from the house that the women, both in their 80s, kept for expenses.
“The victims would go to the bank, withdraw money from the accounts for their daily activities, and when the cleaning people would come and go to the various locations in the house where they knew the money was kept,” said Trooper Limani.
Skacel later asked a St. Bernard-loving friend, 22-year-old Ashley Giovannagelo , to also help clean for the victims and allegedly share the money.
In August 2013, a family member, who had power of attorney for the victims, contacted state police after noticing that each of their bank accounts, which previously contained more than $100,000 were nearly drained.
“One of the things they used the money for was to purchase a trailer to take the dogs to shows,” Trooper Limani said.
Skacel’s family has a dog grooming business, but no one wished to comment.
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