ASHEVILLE, NC -- Asheville police report that a 77-year-old woman suffering from dementia was victimized by a man she tells News 13 was her longtime handyman.
“Part of it is my fault,” said the victim, who asked not to be identified, “because he got my credit card.”
She explained what she says led to police charging her former handyman, Terry Gibson, with exploitation of an elder and harassment.
According to police warrants, Gibson is charged with using over $5600 of the victim’s money without her permission.
“I got alerted from my bank,” said the victim, who said she came to depend on Gibson to help her in her home.
“He could do everything,” said the woman. “He could cook, he would clean inside the house, He would work outside the house."
Asheville police also reported Gibson came her her house twice at night--and cut her cable lines.
“He’d say, shall I fix it for you? I say sure. So, he'd fix it and I’d pay him. So it happened over and over, because he could cut it and I would pay him.”
When reached by phone Monday, Gibson denied the charges but said he would not comment further.
Elder abuse attorney Nicki Applefield reviewed the victim’s interview and said the story is unfortunately an all-too-common scenario of crimes committed against seniors.
“With this victim, my first reaction is it's very sad she blames herself,” said Applefield. “She feels partly responsible for being victimized. It's clear she had a trusted relationship with this person, and he took advantage of it.”
In a separate case, APD reported a 74-year-old Asheville man, also suffering from dementia, was victimized by Devontae Gaines, who warrants state convinced the victim that he helped raise Gaines.
Warrants returned to the magistrate last week state Gaines was able to get $300 from the victim and another $92 in goods and services at a gas station.
If you or a family member wish to get help for an aging friend or relative, Buncombe County’s TRIAD dedicated to helping seniors avoid abuse encourages individuals to contact them.
For more information in Buncombe County, contact Ruth Price, Land of Sky Regional Council's Lead Ombudsman at 828.251.6622 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
For more information in Henderson Cuunty, contact Curt Crowhurst, CC&C Senior Services at 828.400.4541 or email@example.com.