Anne Carlin was at an impasse. Her children’s daycare, Arbor Learning Academy, was suddenly shut down by the state amid allegations of drug use by staff and other longstanding issues.
Finding daycare in the post-pandemic world was hard enough, she said. And now the West Chester resident was losing her only good option. She took to social media, scouring local mothers’ groups for leads on babysitters. She found one available immediately, and after a lengthy phone interview and review of the woman’s resume and references, Carlin hired her.
Carlin, 38, didn’t realize the move would cost his family nearly $8,000 in credit card debt and plunge them into the middle of a criminal investigation.
“The worst part is how it affects your ability to trust and move on,” Carlin said this week. “We trusted him just like we trusted Arbor Learning, and having these two incidents happen so close to each other has really affected my family’s ability to trust strangers again. “
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When Carlin gave Jessica Gadebusch her credit card to take her two children to Elmwood Park Zoo on August 12, West Whiteland Township police said the 22-year-old recorded the credit card information from Carlin to her Apple Wallet account and then stormed off. , a six-day shopping spree, spending hundreds of dollars on expensive sportswear at Lululemon and personal items on Amazon, and booking a $2,000 Airbnb.
She also tried to make more purchases, including trips with American Airlines, but by then Carlin’s card had run out and the charges were declined, according to Carlin.
Gadebusch, of Douglassville, Berks County, was charged with 36 counts of access device fraud, court records show. Neither she nor her attorney, David Moscow, returned multiple requests for comment on the story.
The brazenness of the alleged fraud stunned Carlin. She said Gadebusch was an excellent nanny, attentive and creative with ways to engage her children. And even after she moved on to a less expensive daycare center in her area, the two had ended the relationship on good terms.
She and her husband discovered the fraud about a week later, at the end of August, while reviewing their financial information while closing a new home. The couple contacted a small store where some of the purchases had been made.
From this company, they learned that the buyer had used the Pugs’ billing information, but had given Gadebusch’s home address for shipping. They contacted the police, who in turn contacted Gadebusch.
She confessed to West Whiteland detectives that she made the purchases, according to the probable cause affidavit for her arrest. And she made an apologetic phone call to Carlin and her husband, promising to pay them back.
“I have no ill will and I want her to be able to get on with her life,” Carlin said. “But this whole situation has really scared us of who people are versus who they say they are.”
West Whiteland Detective Scott Pezik said suspected fraud is not uncommon for the department: In well-heeled Chester County, he and his colleagues often investigate house thefts by housekeepers, home helpers. or other hired help.
He tells anyone who hires someone to work from home to vet the candidate thoroughly using all available tools, including criminal record and social media checks. References, he said, are crucial.
“It shows you how vulnerable we all are,” he said. “You hire people to work for you and you trust them. Thieves can come in all shapes and sizes.
Gadebusch has a preliminary hearing in his case scheduled for October. In the meantime, she is released on an unsecured bond of $10,000. And, according to Katie Teuber, still works as a nanny.
Teuber, like Carlin, was in desperate need of childcare and saw Gadebusch’s post in a Facebook group. Gadebusch was at Teuber’s in Malvern on Tuesday when another mother told her Carlin’s story. Shocked, she asked Gadebusch to leave.
“I thought I was punk,” Teuber said. “It’s disturbing – we’ve just been trying to find someone who’s nice and will treat our family well, and the fact that there’s someone taking advantage of families is pretty scary.”
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