PARADISE VALLEY, AZ (3TV/CBS 5) – A live-in caretaker for a Paradise Valley man is facing nearly a dozen felony charges after allegedly stealing and pawning jewelry he took from the man’s wife and forging checks to the tune of almost $15,000. Court documents show that Gary Joseph Galvan has a history of arrests for drugs, forgery, and theft.
The investigation into Galvan started in September when Janis Lyon contacted police to report the theft of jewelry and silverware from her home. She suspected Galvan, who was her dying husband's caretaker for more than three years. Working off a list of stolen items provided by Lyon, police tracked down transactions at four different pawn shops. One was made back in February. The rest were made in July, August and September. The estimated total value of the things Galvan allegedly pawned -- jewelry, silverware, and designer purses -- is more than $29,000. Police say the pawn tickets list Galvan as the seller and have his fingerprint. Police also said that employees from three of the shops identified Galvan in a photo lineup, and one of the stores provided surveillance video of Galvan pawning a Tiffany alarm clock.
“This man, lower than a snake's belly, chose to take from us when he had a home, which he did not have before,” Lyon said.
Police arrested Galvan on Sept. 19. They said he “made no admissions” when detectives spoke with him.
About a month after the first report, Lyon went back to police with more accusations, this time involving forged personal checks. Investigators got copies of a dozen checks written on Lyon’s account and deposited into Galvan’s. The total amount was $14,785. Police said Galvan’s bank provided “photos and video depicting Galvan making fraudulent transactions.”
Police arrested Galvan a second time on Nov. 1.
Lyon isn't mincing words about Galvan.
“You’re never welcome here and I hope you go to jail,” Lyon said.
Investigators said he claimed that Lyon wrote the checks.
“It should be noted, the forged checks are obviously written in different handwriting from those of the victim’s legitimate checks,” explains the probable cause for arrest statement.
“He robbed us; I was out of town and he took jewelry, forged checks; he took coins,” Lyon said.
Now Lyon wants to warn others about hiring a caretaker.
“We didn’t do a background check -- and it’s very important I learned -- to do a background check on these people,” Lyon said.
The victim told police that neither she nor her husband, who has since died, gave Galvan permission to take anything and stated that the jewelry and checks were not gifts. While court documents do not say how long Galvan had been a caretaker for the victim’s husband, they does state that the couple “had given Galvan gifts in the past but only small gifts around Christmas.” Documents also indicate that Galvan lived with the couple.
The Maricopa County Attorney’s Office this week filed 11 felony charges against Galvan, including one each of theft and fraud, and nine of trafficking in stolen property.