A nanny accused of stealing about $3,000 in property from an Allen family is under investigation in three similar cases in Fort Worth and Frisco, police said.
Judith Sturrock Burress, 67, was arrested and charged with theft. She was released on $5,000 bond, according to Collin County jail records.
Rebecca Tautfest, who has health issues and recently underwent surgery, said she and her husband hired Burress several weeks ago after she did well in an interview.
"She came in and talked about how she went to church every Sunday, didn't drink and didn't smoke," Tautfest said.
But within a few weeks, Tautfest said she noticed things missing, like a scarf she had just bought.
"And I knew it was just sitting right there and I'm just like, 'This is really weird,'" she said.
And other items were missing, too, she said, like old cell phones. So, she called police.
Officers arrested Burress on charges of theft and possession of someone else's credit cards and prescription drugs.
"When the police arrested her, she had a brand new Coach wallet that I had just bought, that she said was hers, and she had one of my credit cards and my Costco card," Tautfest said.
Burress's attorney, Scott Palmer, of Dallas, said Burress denies doing anything wrong.
"What is being reported is only half the story," he said. "We look forward to trying this case in a courtroom rather than on television."
Fort Worth police spokesman Sgt. Steven Enright said detectives there are investigating two cases involving Burress.
Two former employers accuse Burress of stealing items from them, according to police reports.
In one of the cases, Dr. Jason Kouri accused Burress of taking a medal he earned while serving in the U.S. Navy.
In a telephone interview, Kouri said he received the medal for saving a sailor's life and for humanitarian service in Kenya.
He also said a ring he had given his wife disappeared about the same time.
"It was a nice ring," he said.
Kouri said Burress lived with him and his family for about eight months last year.
"We started noticing she was misplacing things, putting stuff in her bins and taking stuff to storage," he said.
In a separate case, Dr. April Mikes, an OBGYN in Fort Worth, said she employed Burress late last year to watch her three young girls, ages five, four and two months.
She noticed several items missing, including earrings, prescription medicine, and her daughter's Christmas ornaments.
Mikes said Burress disappeared around Christmas and left a "nasty note" behind.
"You're a criminal because you're a working mother and don't take care of your kids," she quoted the note as saying.
Tautfest, the Allen mother, said she looked through Burress's belongings, including some hidden in the garage under a blanket, and found her missing scarf, along with numerous other items.
She also said she found the Fort Worth doctor's military medal and his wife's ring and plans to return the items to them soon.
Frisco police also confirmed an investigation into Burress is underway there.
Mahdhu Maredu, a Frisco computer expert, said he employed Burress for about ten weeks late last year to take care of his dog.
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He said he recently realized about $4,500 in jewelry was missing from his home and filed a report with police, naming Burress as a suspect.
No charges have been filed in the Fort Worth or Frisco cases.