Warrant issued for caregiver accused of forging patients' checks

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BADEN, Pa. - A warrant has been issued for a caregiver accused of stealing from the Baden man he was taking care of, according to police.

Authorities said the victim, David Rykaczewski, was in a bad car accident in 2011, and is required to live at home with home healthcare workers visiting daily.

Rykaczewski, 50, told Channel 11’s Gordon Loesch that he became suspicious of the caregiver, 29-year-old Joe Carter, after he bragged about Christmas gifts he was able to purchase.

According to police, the caregiver is accused of forging two checks, each worth $200, to himself.

“He said basically he was struggling on hard times right now and it was an error in judgment,” Baden police Sgt. David Alvarez said.

Rykaczewski told Loesch the reason he’s sharing his story is because he doesn’t want others to fall for the same scheme.

“Be suspicious of the people you have coming in because you never know what they could steal,” Rykaczewski said.

Rykaczewski said the entire situation was something he wish he had avoided.

“I ended up in Sewickley Valley Hospital with dehydration and high blood pressure. I also had an anxiety attack (because I was so upset),” Rykaczewski said.

The home healthcare company Right At Home compensated Rykaczewski for the forged checks. He said he’s using that money to buy surveillance cameras for his apartment.

“Don’t do it again. Don’t take advantage of people that are handicapped or older,” Rykaczewski said when asked if he had any advice for Carter.

Police said a warrant was issued for Carter on forgery and theft charges. He’s expected to turn himself into police Wednesday morning.