Caretaker steals more than $100,000 in jewelry from elderly couple, police say

Francisco Castillo-Lumbi treated 'like he was a son,' attorney for family says

MIAMI – A Coral Gables caretaker was arrested Tuesday after he stole more than $100,000 worth of jewelry from an 82-year-old woman's home, police said.

Francisco Castillo-Lumbi, 36, faces charges of grand theft and elderly exploitation.

According to a probable cause affidavit, Marlene Berg told police she had reason to believe that her husband's caretaker had stolen numerous pieces of pricey jewelry from the master bedroom of her home.

Berg's son and his fiancé told police Castillo-Lumbi was acting strangely and watching their every move, even saying he believed he was going to be blamed for the theft because he had access to the jewelry towers in the master bedroom.

Police said a hidden camera in the master bedroom showed Castillo-Lumbi searching through the jewelry and removing jewelry boxes on two different occasions while Berg, her son and his fiancé were out of town.

A prosecutor revealed in bond court Wednesday that Castillo-Lumbi "admitted to selling several pieces of jewelry," including a ring for $270 to a stranger. She said Castillo-Lumbi needed money because he's trying to arrange fake passports to bring his children to the U.S. from Nicaragua.

It was also revealed in court that Castillo-Lumbi fled to the U.S. because he faces an 80-year prison sentence in Nicaragua on terrorism charges.

"They fed this man," Michael Catalano, an attorney representing the family, told Local 10 News. "They treated him like he was a son."

Castillo-Lumbi was ordered held on a $200,000 bond. He also has a federal immigration hold.