Scales of Justice

A Billings woman has been accused of burglarizing the apartments of elderly residents and stealing jewelry, cash and medications.

Shannon Marie Lynch, 36, was set to appear in Yellowstone County Justice Court on Tuesday on two counts of burglary, felonies.

Lynch had been at Mission Ridge, a retirement home on Billings' West End, checking doors and entering rooms on July 18, 2015, according to a man who works security for Mission Ridge. (The reason for the timing of the charges, which were filed Tuesday, was not immediately clear.)

On that day, one woman reported that a large amount of jewelry had gone missing while she was away at lunch, charges state. The woman’s husband had been in the room but had hearing and memory problems and would not have known how the jewelry went missing, she said. The woman reported the jewelry was worth more than $26,000.

Lynch returned a week later, the security staff told Billings police. She was seen checking door handles again, and one woman said she found Lynch in her apartment. The security staff member followed her to her car, waiting behind it while police arrived, charges state.

Lynch told police she was on the Mission Ridge campus to cut a woman’s hair.

Two other residents told police that day that they had discovered belongings missing from the day Lynch was seen on campus the previous week. Those belongings included medication, $60 in cash, $25 gift cards and jewelry worth $200.

Roughly a month later, police responded to a separate West End apartment, where an elderly woman told officers she’d been in her bedroom cleaning when a woman had entered, said something about being in the wrong room, and left quickly. The apartment resident immediately noticed her purse was missing after the woman left, she said.

A neighbor told officers that prior to entering the woman’s room where the purse went missing, the woman had knocked on the neighbor’s door and been let in.

There she told the neighbor she was looking for work cleaning apartments, and also wanted ice for her Pepsi. The neighbor said she had no ice so the woman left, but first gave the neighbor a note with her first name, Shannon, and a number to call for apartment cleaning.

The neighbor later identified Lynch in a lineup.

Lynch said she had never stolen anything from the clients she cleans for, and that it must be a coincidence that she was a suspect in burglaries of both elderly residences.

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Justice Reporter

Justice reporter for the Billings Gazette.