Bench warrant issued for caregiver accused of stealing from elderly Valley couple

MESA, AZ - A home caregiver, hired to care for the elderly, is now accused of stealing from them instead.

Kendra Leann Coultas is facing multiple counts of theft, trafficking in stolen property, and drug possession, while her boyfriend Joshua Clark is also charged with trafficking in stolen property.

The couple is accused of stealing money and jewelry from an elderly Mesa couple in their 80s.

The family, once relieved to hear about the arrest, is now turning to ABC15 for help in bringing their family justice.

The victim's daughter, Kathy Hunter said the suspects failed to show up for their recent court hearing, and a bench warrant has been issued for their arrest. Hunter said she was disappointed to learn that the couple may not be arrested, unless they're busted for another crime, as bench warrants for a crime such as this one are not considered high priority for most stressed and short-staffed police agencies.

A criminal defense attorney said courts issued many bench warrants every single day. Most law enforcement agencies spent the time and resources to track down suspects who were considered dangerous or violent.

"The whole system, trying to bring them to justice makes me feel like a victim again," said Hunter.

The family took a chance on the struggling couple who seemed down on their luck.

"Plus my mom seemed to like her look," Hunter added.

After about a month, Hunter said she started noticing jewelry missing. The family then installed cameras in the home. Hunter said the video showed Coultas stealing everyday household items, money from wallets, and pilfering through items in their rooms.

"I mean it's one thing to steal my stuff, I still have a job, but to take money that's potentially food and medicine for an elderly person, it's disgusting," said Hunter.

Court documents indicated Coultas admitted to stealing cash and jewelry, then with the help of her boyfriend, pawning it off at the Gold Vampire pawn shop in Mesa.

"They've probably melted down most of it," said Hunter.

Among the stolen items included the engagement ring given by her father to her mother, also an engagement ring that had been in the family for generations.

"The diamond may not have been worth anything, but the sentimental value was," said Hunter. "To know that something that my mom treasured so much is never coming back to her is just devastating."

ABC15 News stopped by a Mesa address listed for Kathy Coultas and Josh Clark. Relatives said they did not live there anymore. A criminal defense attorney says if the couple is stopped for any traffic violation or commits another crime, the bench warrant will be activated, and the couple would be arrested. No future hearing dates are scheduled at this time.

"It's just not acceptable. She hasn't been convicted so this means she can work this crime again and again on the elderly until the cows come home," said Hunter.

She said she was speaking out to prevent this from happening to other families who relied on caregivers.

"Do your own individual background checks, do other research before letting people into your home, and be cognizant of what's happening," said Hunter.

Court documents indicate that Coultas admitted to stealing at least $13,000 worth of items from the couple.  Documents also stated that Coultas said she knew what she did was wrong, and apologized for her actions.

Background checks indicated Coultas had an outstanding warrant out of Mesa city court for failing to appear in court for a previous shoplifting charge.

Court records also indicated that Clark said he knew the items he was pawning were stolen, but was hurting financially and needed the money.

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