Anastasia Rigos, a quadriplegic immobilized by multiple sclerosis, said she instantly liked the nursing aide sent into her Upper Darby home by a Main Line health-care agency in December 2005.
For Christmas, Rigos gave the aide $100 and told her to buy herself a gift.
Antoinette Colclough, the woman who washed, dressed and spoon-fed Rigos with such care, took the $100 and a whole lot more, according to police.
Two days after Christmas, Colclough used a Chase credit card she opened in Rigos' name to put a $1,000 deposit on a Dodge Durango.
For the next five months, Colclough racked up $14,000 in credit-card charges under Rigos' name.
"She had a ball with me," said Rigos, 49, lying in a recliner in her living room yesterday, her head propped up with a pillow. "It was too easy."
Police say Colclough went on a spending spree at Rigos' expense: $4,000 in kitchen appliances at Home Depot, $800 in lingerie at Victoria's Secret, $1,867 on a Dell laptop computer.
"This woman is a parasite," said Upper Darby Police Superintendent Michael J. Chitwood. "She is pure evil."
What's worse, said Chitwood, is that Rigos wasn't Colclough's first victim.
In September 2004, Marple police arrested Colclough on charges of stealing the identity of a mentally challenged man under her care and also spending about $14,000 on credit-card purchases, police records show.
While caring for Rigos, Colclough was out on bail awaiting trial on the criminal charges stemming from her 2004 arrest.
Colclough, 42, of Darby Borough, Delaware County, was rearrested by Upper Darby police on Feb. 16 in connection with Rigos' case. Last night, Colclough remained at Delaware County Prison, unable to post a $25,000 cash bail.
She is charged with multiple felonies, including 17 counts of forgery and three counts of identity theft.
Police records show that Colclough was arrested in 1981 for retail theft in Upper Moreland Township. Ten years later, she was charged by Philadelphia police with simple assault and recklessly endangering another person, but those charges were ultimately withdrawn, police records show.
Colclough was placed in Rigos' home by the Pennsylvania Agency of Nurses, which bills itself as "the Main Line's premier in-home care company" and assures clients that its aides "undergo a thorough background check for your safety."
The criminal-background check done on Colclough came back "no record," according to Beth Anne Maas, a vice president at the Newtown Square-based nurse agency.
"The reason that Antoinette's criminal check came back 'No Record' is because she had been arrested, but all of her former charges were 'pending,' " Maas wrote in a statement. "There is no way for an employer doing the check to see the 'pending' charges."
Under Pennsylvania law, Colclough can continue to work as a nurse's aide until she is convicted.
But under a relatively new checks-and-balances system put in place last April, police routinely notify health officials when charges are brought against anyone on the state's list of registered nurse aides. Each month, a list of aides facing criminal charges is sent to health-care providers around the state. Colclough is now on the state's "criminal offense list," said state Department of Health spokesman Richard McGarvey.