A 37-year-old caretaker was sentenced to three years of probation Wednesday in Scott County Court after police allege she used an older neighbor’s debit card to charge more than $43,000.

Katherine Dreher pleaded guilty to felony charges of first-degree theft and dependent-adult abuse, court records show.

Katherine Dreher (photo from Scott County Jail inmate records.)

Police: Thefts date back to 2019

In an arrest affidavit, Eldridge Police say Dreher wrote checks in the victim’s name dated back to 2019. The Department of Human Services defines Dreher as the victim’s caretaker, the affidavit says. Dreher has been living in a duplex owned by the victim, with the victim as her neighbor, police say.

“The victim never kept her residence secure, giving full access to the residence by the defendant,” the affidavit says. Text messages show Dreher has been inside the victim’s residence without permission, records say.

Some online purchases were made with the victim’s debit card and packages were sent to Dreher’s address. The victim has no internet access, the affidavit says.

The judge, who suspended Dreher’s jail time, says she wants Dreher to have the opportunity to work and pay restitution.

In court, Dreher said she wants to take responsibility for what she did. “There is nothing I can say to take back the things I’ve done,” she said. “‘Sorry’ just doesn’t cut it. I was a crappy person.”

A woman who read a victim’s statement says Dreher’s actions devastated the victim, and the victim’s family.

The judge says a hearing about restitution will be set later.