Nurse's Aide Who Pried Wedding Rings From Dementia Patient's Finger and Hocked Them Is Behind Bars: Cops

Ring Stealer
Christina Ankney is being held on felony robbery charges at Pennsylvania's Westmoreland County Prison, according to jail records.Westmoreland County Prison

Nurse's aide Christina Ankney is charged with robbery after she allegedly pried off the wedding rings of a dementia patient in her care, police said.

A Pennsylvania nurse's aide is behind bars after she allegedly pried wedding rings from the finger of a dementia patient in her care at a nursing home, police said.

Christina Ankney, 39, was arrested Thursday and is being held at the Westmoreland County Prison on one count of felony robbery and one count of misdemeanor theft, according to online records.

The woman allegedly removed a set of wedding rings from an elderly dementia patient at Redstone Highlands Retirement Community in Murrysville, where Ankney was a contract worker, authorities said.

“It is disheartening especially when you trust in your caregivers to care for your loved ones during the end of their lives,” Det. Matt Panigal of the Murrysville Police Department told WPXI-TV.

The patient had never removed her wedding rings since the death of her husband, police said. She also had a physical condition that would have prevented them from falling off her finger.

“She had a hand condition where her hands were always clenched shut, so the suspect would have had to forcibly remove the wedding ring from her hand,” Panigal said.

The woman's daughter had reported the rings missing two weeks ago, police said.

Ankney allegedly sold the rings to a pawn shop for $464 and presented her identification when she hocked them, authorities said.

John Dixon, the CEO of Redstone Highlands, told the station that Ankney's alleged actions were “despicable” and “heinous.” 

Police said they received a tip that the rings had been sold to Fat Pocket Pawn Shop in North Versailles.

Fortunately, the store still had the rings, police said.

“The pawn shops and the jewelry centers don’t keep them very long. They either sell them off or melt them down,” Panigal said. “For a victim to get their jewelry back, that’s a rare occurrence. It rarely happens.”

Ankney has not entered a plea on the robbery and theft charges, according to court records. An arraignment hearing is scheduled for Tuesday, the records state.

The woman was indicted in March by a federal grand jury for allegedly stealing cash from a piece of mail while working for the U.S. Postal Service, according to federal authorities. 

She was free on $25,000 bail in that case when she was arrested Wednesday, authorities said. A plea hearing in the mail case is scheduled for Oct. 25, according to court documents.

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