A former cleaner at a San Rafael retirement community was arrested on allegations she stole jewelry from residents and pawned it in Richmond, police said.

Roniesta Patriese Wyatt, 21, of San Pablo was booked into Marin County Jail on suspicion of residential burglary and elder theft. Her bail was set at $750,000.

The investigation began about a month ago at Drake Terrace, a community of about 135 residents at 275 Los Ranchitos Road, said San Rafael police Sgt. Mike Vergara. The case initially involved a few apartments, but the number of residences grew to 15 as more losses were discovered.

Police developed Wyatt as a suspect and used a pawn shop database to determine she had been selling the jewelry with a pawnbroker in Richmond. Police recovered some of the property and the residents identified it.

Wyatt was arrested at the San Rafael police station Tuesday evening after coming in to answer questions from investigators.

Vergara said the investigation is continuing and he did not have a complete tally of the lost items and their value. He said about a third to a half of the jewelry has been recovered.

Wyatt no longer works for the retirement home. When she was booked at the jail, she listed her occupation as "security."

Erik Flatt, executive director at Drake Terrace, said Wyatt had only worked at the complex for "a very short period," and, like all employees, she was subjected to a comprehensive background screening that included a fingerprint check.

"We obviously take the safety and well-being of our residents very seriously," Flatt said.


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The district attorney's office was still reviewing the case Wednesday and had filed no charges.

Contact Gary Klien via email at gklien@marinij.com