Neighbor Accused of Stealing Cancer Patient's Identity

Victim says woman offered to run errands, help manage medical bills

Police say the person who offered to help a Mansfield woman through the battle of a lifetime instead stole her identity -- and tens of thousands of dollars.

Mansfield police arrested Janice Gast on Monday on charges of identity theft.

Jody Short said Gast stole in excess of $25,000 from her while Short was going through chemotherapy and radiation.

"It makes me sick to my stomach that a human being could do this to another human being," she said.

Short, who was diagnosed with stage-two breast cancer nearly two years ago and lives alone, said she is using what little strength she has to try and clear her name and her credit.

"She (Gast) had systematically used my credit cards and taken money out of my bank account," Short said.

Short said the two became friends when Gast offered to run errands for her and help manage the mounting medical bills after her diagnosis.

"I was unable to drive at the time, so I was appreciative and glad she was there," Short said.

The 59-year-old said she is now glad her neighbor is in jail. She said she must beat breast cancer in order to see the criminal charges through.

"As sad as it is what happened to me, I can't sit here and whine," Short said. "I have to take control of my life and move ahead.

Gast is being held in the Mansfield Jail on a $20,000 bond.

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