July 23, 2014

Medina
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Caretaker jailed for stealing meds from woman with cancer

MEDINA — A 24-year-old Sterling woman will spend six months in the Medina County Jail and five years on probation for stealing pain medication from an elderly woman with cancer.

Chelsea R. Cottingham was convicted of four counts of drug theft, fourth-degree felonies punishable by up to 1½ years in prison.

Cottingham was accused of taking the drugs from a client of Wadsworth-based Heart to Heart Home Health Care, where she worked as a care provider.

At her sentencing hearing Tuesday, she apologized for her actions.

“I’m sorry for my mistake,” she said.

Medina County Common Pleas Judge Christopher J. Collier told Cottingham what she did wasn’t a mistake.

“You absolutely meant to steal those drugs,” he said.

Cottingham said she stole them because she had a drug problem and asked Collier to help her get drug treatment.

“I don’t think that’s right for you,” Collier said. “I think you’re a phony, I think you’re a manipulator and I think you’re going to violate probation.”

Cottingham told the judge she was at a loss for words.

“I don’t know what I can say to you to make it better,” she said through tears.

“I don’t think you can, to be honest,” Collier said. “This is about as bad as it gets.”

In addition to jail time, he banned Cottingham from working for any company that cares for people or animals during her probation.

If she violates probation, Collier warned he would send Cottingham to prison for the maximum six years.

Contact reporter Nick Glunt at (330) 721-4048 or nglunt@medina-gazette.com.