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NORTH OGDEN — A home health care worker is accused of siphoning thousands of dollars from an 86-year-old North Ogden woman.
Lauren Hunsaker, 20, was charged Wednesday with theft and exploitation of a vulnerable adult, both third-degree felonies.
Police had issued a warrant for Hunsaker's arrest, but she remained at large as of Thursday evening.
"We need to get her," North Ogden Police Det. Paul Rhodes said. "We need to get her off the street before she does victimize other people.
Investigators said additional victims were a real possibility based on the details of the case.
According to court documents, Hunsaker began providing care for the elderly victim last winter. Within a few weeks, the documents state, she had access to the woman's accounts for "minor necessary expenses." Instead, police wrote, Hunsaker "withdrew large amounts of money that was never given to or spent on" the victim.
Police said Thursday Hunsaker took as much as $3,000.
"I would check on the people that you're letting into your house," Rhodes said.
Rhodes said there were parts of the case that should be of concern to all families with elderly loved ones.
Anybody with information about Lauren Hunsaker's whereabouts is asked to call North Ogden Police dispatch at 801-629-8221.
Workers, he said, should never have access to checking accounts and ATM pins.
"With that, they can empty your bank account, and there's not a lot of recourse," Rhodes said.
Additionally, Weber County Community Services director Paula Price - who oversees the county's aging services division - said families should regularly probe their elderly loved ones to detect signs of trouble with workers who may help around the house.
"If they think that there is exploitation that's going on, they could call adult protective services," Price said. "We do know that they do investigations when there's a vulnerable adult."
Price also recommended contacting the service company, or police depending on the severity of the case.
Rhodes said officers were already patrolling for Hunsaker, now that she has been charged.
Anybody with information about Hunsaker's whereabouts is asked to call North Ogden Police dispatch at 801-629-8221.