SARASOTA - A Sarasota husband and wife have been arrested after detectives say they stole tens of thousands of dollars worth of jewelry from a World War II veteran who allowed them to live in his home.
87-year-old Boston Dixon contacted deputies in September when he discovered a few pieces of his jewelry were missing. He later realized a large amount of jewelry that belonged to his late wife worth an estimated $50,000 was also stolen.
"I was sick. I was sick. That's when I called the police," said Dixon.
Kevin Babbidge and his wife Christina have known Dixon for 10 years and moved in with him in late August to help care for him. Detectives learned that within days, Kevin pawned several pieces of jewelry, but also found records showing he pawned items believed to have belonged to the victim in 2012, when he was paying Kevin $200 a week to clean his home.
"They are scumbags," said Dixon. "You really don't know how it hurts to try and help people like that and allow them in your home, and then they rob you."
Detectives have recovered about $7,600 worth of jewelry taken from Dixon. Both suspects pleaded with him to allow them to make restitution and not press charges. However, there is still no sign of a diamond engagement ring and wedding band belonging to Dixon's late wife, Irene. The two would have celebrated their 69th wedding anniversary this month. She died in March 2012.
"My wife treasured that. She didn't care what I gave her after that as far as jewelry went. Those two rings were everything to here," said Dixon.
Kevin and Christina Babbidge were arrested Thursday morning and charged with Exploitation of the Elderly. They are being held on $50,000 bond apiece. Additional charges are pending.