Police Nab Clarion County Man Accused of Stealing Over $7k from Elderly Woman

wedekindCLARION, Pa. (EYT) – A 33-year-old Shippenville man accused of stealing over $7,000 from an elderly woman was taken into custody Saturday.

The investigation was initiated when Clarion County Chief Detective William H. Peck was contacted by Toni Forsythe of the Clarion Area Agency on Aging. Forsythe investigates incidents involving the elderly.

According to a Criminal Complaint filed at District Magistrate Timothy Schill’s Office, Forsythe received an email from a Clarion area bank stating that two of their tellers reported suspicious activity involving an elderly customer’s account.

The activity involved two savings accounts of an elderly Shippenville woman. The tellers reported numerous cash withdrawals from the account in which the elderly woman arrived at the drive-thru window as a passenger in her car. The report indicated that an unknown male was driving the car when the withdrawals were made.

Forsythe subsequently contacted the victim’s daughter who also serves as her Power of Attorney.

According to the complaint, the victim’s daughter was unaware of the transactions; however, she told Forsythe that she was aware
of separate transactions made in September or October by Joshua D. Wedekind, 33, of Shippenville. Wedekind allegedly withdrew $1600 from a checking account at another area bank. The victim’s daughter told Forsythe that when she confronted Wedekind, he allegedly stated that he “needed the money to cover some bad checks that he had written.”

Online court documents confirm Wedekind is accused of writing several bad checks to Tom’s Riverside in Knox.

The victim’s daughter told Forsythe that she did not give permission to Wedekind to take money from the accounts. She also told Forsythe that victim is not “competent to give permission.”

After receiving permission to access the victim’s medical records, Forsythe obtained information confirming the victim has Senile Dementia.

Additional tests conducted by Forsythe at the victim’s home on October 22 indicate that the victim suffers from severe Dementia. The victim could not provide Forsythe with her date of birth, age, or phone number. She also did not know the name of the current president and did not know the current year, month, or date.

The Criminal Complaint states that Forsythe asked the victim if she had withdrawn any money from her accounts. The victim told Forsythe that she had not and wasn’t even at the bank. Her husband, who is also suffering from Dementia stated, “I didn’t even know we had any money.”

Forsythe then obtained the bank records of two savings accounts in the name of the victim. The accounts, both at a Clarion area bank, had recent unauthorized transactions.

The first account had two unauthorized cash withdrawals on October 2 and October 3, totaling $1,020.

Between October 6 and October 21, ten unauthorized cash withdrawals were made from the second account. The withdrawals totaled $6,050.

The withdrawals from both accounts were made via the bank’s drive-thru window. Snapshot pictures of these withdrawals show Wedekind driving the victim’s car with her in the front passengers seat, according to the complaint.

It was determined that Wedekind was aware of the victim’s health condition and allegedly used that knowledge for his own financial benefit.

He faces felony charges of Theft by Unlawful Taking or Disposition and Theft by Deception.

An arrest warrant was issued for Wedekind on Thursday after he failed to appear for preliminary arraignment.

Around 3 p.m. Saturday, Wedekind was taken into custody and placed in the Clarion County Jail in lieu of $15,000 straight cash bail.

A date has not been set for Wedekind’s preliminary hearing, according to online court records.

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