OVERLAND PARK, Kan. - A home care nightmare continues to grow.
In May, a 41 Action News investigation exposed a questionable caregiver with a history of stealing from the elderly.
And now, there’s evidence of another troubling incident involving an Overland Park man with dementia, prompting police to investigate.
With his diagnosis, there are things Ed Harnett struggles to remember. But there is one memory the 71-year-old can’t seem to forget.
“I don’t even like to think about her,” Harnett said.
He’s talking about Barb Loseke. In January 2013, the caregiver was working at the next-door home in the 11800 block of Larsen Street. One day, Loseke knocked on Harnett’s door to see if he needed any help.
“And like an idiot, I said that I could use some help,” Harnett said.
He hired Loseke to drive him to appointments and clean the house. But before long, Harnett said he grew suspicious.
“She was kind of like someone in a jewelry store, looking around all the time,” Harnett said. “She was literally cleaning the house, taking anything that was worth anything at all.”
Bryan Harnett, who lives out-of-state, heard stories about Loseke when he spoke to his father on the phone.
“I specifically remember him saying to me that he was concerned because when she would clean the house, she would take each book off the shelf and turn it upside down and flip through the pages to see if anything would fall out,” Bryan said.
Ed still lived alone and it wasn’t unusual for him to use hired help for chores around the house, Bryan said.
But Ed had also recently received the dementia diagnosis. Bryan knew paranoia was an early sign of his father’s disease.
“Honestly, I wondered if he thought everyone was out to get him,” Bryan said. “I feel terrible now after seeing your story that she actually was in the house doing that.”
The 41 Action News story detailed Loseke’s pattern of deceit.
The same month she worked in Harnett’s home in 2013, Wyandotte County prosecutors charged Loseke with a felony. Hidden cameras had captured the caregiver stealing items from an elderly Kansas City, Kan., woman’s home.
Later that summer, Jackson County prosecutors accused her of doing the same thing to Lu Jouras , including pawning off her 1941 high school class ring.
Harnett’s family can’t be certain if there are things missing from his home.
However, a review of financial records revealed six different checks written to Loseke totaling $2,500. On January 31, Ed wrote two different checks for $600. The memo line on the checks reads “cleaning.”
Bryan said his dad also made two separate $1,000 cash withdrawals during the same time period. He also loaned Loseke $500 to supposedly buy a plane ticket to see a sick relative in Texas.
“I think he was an easy target for her,” Bryan said. “She definitely took advantage of him.”
In an unusual twist, Overland Park police had brief involvement last year. But it was because Loseke called the cops on Harnett, claiming he threatened her.
An incident report obtained by 41 Action News shows Loseke filed a “criminal threat” complaint on February 11. The case was later closed because a detective determined the accusation was “unfounded.”
Family members wonder if Loseke’s intent was to scare Harnett away from pressing his own charges.
An Overland Park police spokesman tells 41 Action News detectives are now taking a closer look at the situation.
Loseke is awaiting trial for the Jackson County felony charge. In the meantime, a judge ordered her not to perform any work inside people’s homes as a bond condition.
Prosecutors in Wyandotte County are also reviewing if Loseke’s probation should be revoked from their June 2013 felony conviction. A hearing is scheduled for July 25.
Ed viewed the original 41 Action News story about Loseke and realized he’s far from alone.
“I feel sympathy for the other people because she’s a real con person,” he said. “I think she ought to be in jail for all the different things she’s taken from people.”