Worker at Hopkins Airport charged with stealing senior citizen’s money while pushing their wheelchair

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CLEVELAND (WJW) – A worker at Hopkins Airport has now been indicted for pushing a senior citizen in a wheelchair and stealing money.

This summer, the FOX 8 I-Team revealed security video and the investigation, but no charges were filed.

So, what changed?

Cuyahoga County Prosecutors took the case to a grand jury. Teonna Kince has been indicted on a felony charge of theft.

Back in July, we learned of a worker at Hopkins Airport under investigation for stealing money from multiple senior citizens while pushing them in wheelchairs.

The suspect worked for a private company paid by an airline to help the handicapped and elderly get around the airport.

One of the victims was Janet Gleitz, a woman living in South Carolina who passed through Cleveland.

Thursday, the I-Team asked her what it means to see she’s getting justice.

“Well, it restores my faith in the system,” she said.

Gleitz remembered when she was in a wheelchair headed to baggage claim.

“She told me there was a new rule that they had to hold your purse behind you as she’s pushing me.
Then we found out I should have listened to my first instinct and not let her have my purse at all,” Gleitz said.

Cleveland Police looked at security video. A report shows they even found Kince counting money they believed she’d stolen.

Police said they got back stolen money, and this looked like a closed case.

Police body camera video shows an officer telling Kince, “If that money appears right now, you won’t go to jail.”

She then asked, “How much is it supposed to be?”

Another officer answered, “$500.”

At first, Cleveland Police told us the crimes were considered low-level, similar to pickpocketing. We wouldn’t see any charges unless the victims pressed the cases on their own at the Justice Center, which Gleitz did.

Cuyahoga County Prosecutor Michael O’Malley says the worker got hit with felony theft since the victim is a senior citizen.

“I think it’s our duty to prosecute all crimes, but in particular, we have to protect the elderly,” O’Malley said. “They’re using that position to take advantage of the very people that they’re hired to assist.”

Gleitz said, no matter what happens in court, she just hopes Kince learns from this.

We called a number on a police report trying to reach Kince, and a woman told us we had the wrong number.

‘You have to respect other people. My heart says give her a break. But then, people have to realize they can’t do this,” Gleitz said.

County Prosecutor O’Malley also said he now wonders how many people were ripped off the same way at the airport.

The county could also take a closer look at more charges.

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