Victims react to fake caregiver who police say stole from elderly

ODESSA, Tx (KOSA) -- Blanca Zavala, 50, was arrested Tuesday, after police said she pretended to be an in-home care provider to steal medication and other items from the elderly and disabled.

Blanca Zavala, 50. (Photo: Ector County Sheriff's Office)

“She had on the scrubs,” alleged victim Dean Whitehead said. “They normally take my blood pressure, and she had the blood pressure cuff. She had a stethoscope and listened to me.”

Whitehead lives at Manor Crest Apartments, a complex for the disabled and elderly. According to police, that was where Zavala committed a majority of her crimes.

For Whitehead, it was her first and last time seeing Zavala. She said that while she took a nap, Zavala stole her electronic devices, and three of her prescription pill bottles.

“I’ve got every kind of arthritis there is,” Whitehead said. “I’ve got cancer, diabetes, and everything else. So I need my medications.”

According to police and Manor Crest service coordinator Marie Williams, Zavala would say she was from a variety of local care organizations, and prey upon people’s trusting nature.

“They see this person in scrubs, and say ‘This is somebody Marie has sent for me, to help me stay independent in my home,’” Williams said. “They trust right away, and that got taken away from them.”

“I’m still watching,” Whitehead said. “I take and I hide my medications. When they come in my house, they won’t find my medications because they’re hid. Either that or I put them in my safe and lock them up.”

Williams said they’re working to ensure something like this never happens again.

“Now they have to come through me,” she said. “There’s no soliciting by anybody. I’ve let the residents know that if I’m not with them on that first visit, they’re not to let them in. Don’t sign anything and don’t allow them to come into their apartment.”