TUALATIN, Ore. – Two women from Tualatin are accused of stealing money and valuables from an 81-year-old man with dementia since 2011.
Nichole Garlitz, 43, has been arrested three times and Kelly Dresser, 41, has been arrested four times related to this case since October, according to Sgt. Bob Ray with the Washington County Sheriff's Office.
The sheriff’s office believed the duo may have taken advantage of other people and is searching for more potential victims.
Investigators believe the women befriended the man in early 2011 and have been stealing from him ever since.
The women stole at least $80,000 in cash as well as family heirlooms, including jewelry and antique furniture, according to investigators.
The victim’s two sons eventually alerted police and sparked a five month investigation. They said the women befriended their father outside the Fred Meyer in Tualatin and began to take over his life while pretending to help. Dresser and Garlitz also tried to take the man’s farm that’s been in the family for 100 years, his sons said, and he may now have to sell the farm to get more money.
“I’m sure this isn’t their first go around on this kind of business,” the victim’s son, Jeff Lopez said. “They were way too good.”
Lopez said the women changed his father’s life insurance to include their own names and maxed out at least three of his credit cards. The victim's sons said the women began to keep their father from his family, too.
“I mean, it’s like my dad being in a prison,” his son, Tim Oldenstadt, said. “They were just brainwashing him.”
Their father denied what the bank statements showed at first, but now believes he was duped.
“In my mind, I didn’t protect him,” Lopez said while fighting back tears. “That’s the hardest part.”
Garlitz is currently in the Washington County Jail. She is charged with multiple counts of felony criminal mistreatment, identity theft, felony aggravated theft, and possession and distribution of methamphetamine. She is being held on $125,000 bail.
Kelly Dresser has been released from the Washington County Jail on bail. She faces charges including of multiple counts of felony criminal mistreatment, identity theft and tampering with evidence.
Court dates for the two women have not yet been set.
The sheriff’s office believes there may be more victims of Garlitz and Dresser. Anyone who has information about the two women is asked to call the Washington County Sheriff’s Office at 503-846-2500.