Police: Cleaner fleeces senior

An 88-year-old resident of Hershey’s Mill in East Goshen Township called police Thursday to report the theft of 35 pieces of jewelry over the past two weeks. and detectives immediately went to work installing surveillance that led to an arrest yesterday, police said.

Police said there was no sign of forced entry, and the victim said the only person with access to the $20,000 worth of jewelry taken from the bedroom was the cleaning person. On Friday, detectives from the Westtown-East Goshen Regional Police Department installed a surveillance system in the victim’s home; within minutes of her arrival, the cleaning person started cleaning out dresser drawers, concealing jewelry on her person, police said.

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Melissa Ann Lash is accused of adding theft to her cleaning duties.


As Melissa Ann Lash, 31, of Aston, was exiting the residence on Jefferson Way, detectives were waiting. They approached her, spoke with her about the investigation and found nine pieces of the victim's jewelry in her possession, police said. Aston was charged with six counts of theft by unlawful taking, six counts of receiving stolen property, possession of a controlled substance and driving while operating privileges are suspended or revoked, court records said.

 Lash was arraigned last night and remanded to Chester County Prison after failing to post 10 percent of $10,000 bail. A preliminary hearing is scheduled for Wednesday. Police said detectives learned during the investigation that Lash had sold stolen jewelry from the same victim five different times in the past month at a location in Delaware County.