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Arizona employee accused of stealing from family of dead woman

Posted: 7:04 PM, Apr 04, 2018
Updated: 2018-04-04 22:07:48-04

The employee of a Valley cleaning company is accused of stealing from its clients.

In December 2017 Gabriele Lammers was found deceased in her Ahwatukee home.

"She had been here for about three weeks before she was found," says niece Dagmar Himmler. 

The stench of the decomposing filling the house, Himmler says police advised not to come over until a bio-hazard cleaning team took care of the bloody mess left behind. Himmler lives out of state and wasn't sure who to call.

"My mom spoke to a detective and he said that they cannot recommend a company but the police department has a contract with a company, Clean Scene," she says.

Clean Scene AZ. It's website says it offers decontamination services to police, fire departments and homeowners.

Himmler contacted the owner.

"She (the owner) said we're a licensed and bonded company. All of our employees go through an extensive background check," Himmler says.

They were hired. And Himmler says they were given specific instructions.

"I don't want you to go through the drawers the cabinets, I don't want you to go upstairs (or) go through any other rooms."

Instead she says they sent her pictures of workers all over the house and in some cases the wrong house.

But she says that was just the beginning.

Himmler says the day after Clean Scene arrived the garage door was left open.

"I called Frances I said why is the garage door open? So she said she's going to talk to Debby."

It was handled. But a few days later, "The other garage door is open. And the car is gone."

Then the bills started coming. Card statements show her aunt's credit cards began being used at stores around the Valley the day after Clean Scene arrived at the house.

"I think about 5, $6,000 dollars so far that we know of," she says. And when she arrived at the house, "the jewelry drawers in there were all emptied, the safe was open."

And she says the company owner took no responsibility and blamed outsiders.

Himmler didn't buy it. She called police and filed a complaint with the Arizona Attorney General Office.

We stopped by Clean Scene for answers.

"Well according to Debby there were no valuables, " said owner Frances Vierkoetter.

She was referring to Deborah Claywell, a Clean Scene worker who was sent to the house to clean. She is also the person who police say was "in possession" of Himmler's aunt's credit cards when arrested on January 25.

Yet Vierkoetter admits, Debby continued working at Clean Scene.

We asked why she would continue to use her if there was a possibility that something like that could happen? Vierkoetter's response, "has she been found guilty?"

No. Not guilty, yet.

But police reports show Claywell was on surveillance video "making all of the purchases while wearing her Clean Scene t-shirt" and in one case "driving the Clean Scene van."

Vierkoetter's says seven year background checks are standard and Claywell's showed nothing.  

But we found that before her most recent arrest, she'd been arrested several times for charges ranging from drugs to child abuse to traffic violations.

Dagmar says two other workers were in her aunt's house.

Vierkoette told the Attorney General's office they'd worked with well with Claywell before. But told us, "I had no knowledge of those people."

When pressed she admitted that Claywell picked them up and put them to work in the house without her knowledge.

As for the family, instead of mourning a loss, Himmler and her mother feels stuck dealing with what happened afterward.

"It's just such a violation," she says.

The car was found at a South Phoenix motel. Claywell has not been charged with that theft.

Clean Scene's attorney says she no longer works there, that proper background checks were done, and that Himmel was offered a full refund.

The dismissal and offering happened within the last two weeks, after Let Joe Know got involved. Himmel has refused the offer. Letting me know she is more concerned about whether people with similar pasts are being allowed into other people's homes.