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Elderly cancer patient searching for stolen ring

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GLENVILLE, N.Y. (NEWS10) — A senior citizen, stricken with terminal cancer at a Glenville nursing home, is hoping that someone, somewhere, with any information on her stolen sentimental ring — that is still missing — will come forward. 

Hospital employee charged with stealing a ring from a sleeping patient

Meet 75 year old Tricia Fitzpatrick. She’s been battling Stage 4 lung cancer which has metastasized. An oxygen machine provides the breaths that still keep her fighting.

A fight made all the more difficult by a trip to Albany Med’s Emergency Room on July 17th for a CAT scan.  

“I was lying there, with my eyes closed, and I think to an observer it would seem that I was sleeping. So all of a sudden I felt this hand…fingers closed around my finger…around the ring, and start pulling it off” said Fitzpatrick.

“…After she came back up, she kept going like this like this, and I was like what’s the matter? And she was like, you know, my ring, my ring, is gone” Fitzpatrick’s daughter Kim Perrella added.

Albany detectives determined that 36 year old Caitlan Mullaney of Slingerlands, a patient care technician, allegedly removed the ring from Fitzpatrick while she was lying on a stretcher.  

The mother of three had a message for the woman accused of stealing her precious piece of jewelry.

“Get a conscience. Its…it’s…not worth it. I’ll give you the money if you’re that desperate” she pleaded.

The thirteen millimeter trillion cut garnish ring with a row of diamonds, represents her three children, one of whom tragically passed away. 

“I want the ring for my daughter. One day I’m gonna be gone. She saw that ring on me my whole life. She knows what it represents to me. It’ll mean something to her. I don’t have anything of value that I could leave her” Fitzpatrick said emotionally.

The mom still keeps a sense of humor about the ring’s story. 

“I had gotten divorced. My father always used to tease: ‘It’s bad to put a ring on that finger’. So I said when I put that one on, this represents the kids. I’m married to my kids now! To hell with guys!” Fitzpatrick joked.

The ring is still missing. The 75 year old says detectives, including one she jokingly noted was named Rob Lawyer, checked over 30 pawn shops, including the suspect’s residence. Nothing has turned up. They’re hoping by some miracle, someone one, somewhere, will recover the ring while the ill woman is still around to cherish it one last time.

“Do you hope that you get the ring back before…” NEWS10’s Zion Decoteau asked the mother and daughter.

“Well, wouldn’t that be nice!…to get the ring back before something happens and she passes would be wonderful. But anytime he’s gonna be valuable in our hearts” Perrella interjected.

Both mother and daughter say they haven’t lost their faith in humanity despite the disheartening events

“At this time in my life, I don’t have time for malice. I…I…I don’t know when or how it’s going to happen, but I’m ready…I’m ready [to pass away]” Fitzpatrick said. “I’m sorry” she then said to her daughter.

“I know” Perrella reassured her mother. “We just want the ring back” she told us.

The suspect Mullaney was arrested and charged with one count of fourth degree grand larceny. She was arraigned in Albany City Criminal Court and pleaded not guilty. She was released and is set to appear in court on September 22nd. 

We reached out to Albany Med, who released a statement simply saying: “Caitlin Mullaney is not currently employed by Albany Medical Center.”

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