She was supposed to care for patient but Columbia woman was stealing valuables, police say


A caretaker for a wheelchair-bound woman was arrested on multiple charges for stealing valuable property from her patient, the Columbia Police Department said.

Cynthia T. Burgess, a 47-year-old Columbia resident, was charged with exploitation of a vulnerable adult, grand larceny (value $10,000 or more) and obtaining property under false pretenses (value $2,000 or less), Richland County court records show.

From Aug. 16 through Sept. 7, Burgess stole jewelry and a sterling silver flatware set that have a combined value of about $25,000, according to police.

The department’s property crimes investigator has recovered most of the stolen items at local pawn shops, police said.

There was no word about the company that Burgess was working for, or if she is currently employed.

Information about how police were contacted, and how the investigation led to Burgess, was not available.

Burgess was booked at the Alvin S. Glenn Detention Center Monday, and was released Tuesday after posting $32,125 bond on the combined charges, court records show. As part of her bond, Burgess cannot return to the crime scene or have any contact with the victim or her family, according to court records.

Burgess is scheduled to return to court on the misdemeanor obtaining property under false pretenses charge on Oct. 23, and again on Nov. 8 for the other felony charges, judicial records show.

If convicted on all of the charges, Burgess faces a maximum sentence of more than 15 years in prison and could be ordered to pay thousands in fines and restitution, according to South Carolina law.