Polish Food Store Owners Stole Tens of Thousands From Dying Elderly Woman: Cops

The Vernon couple who owns Adam's Polish Foods on Talcotville Road is accused of stealing tens of thousands of dollars from an elderly woman who lived with them before and after she died.

According to police, Adam Gryszkiewicz, 56, and Teresa Gryszkiewicz, 58, of Vernon, embezzled from the bank accounts of 87-year-old Maria Chlasta, a native of Poland who shopped at their store and often wired money from there to her sister in Poland.

Chlasta moved into the couple's apartment before she died in February 2013 and told her attorney they were helping her with her finances, since they spoke Polish and could help translate for her, according to the warrant for the couple's arrests.

She made Teresa Gryszkiewicz a joint account holder in January 2012 and made Adam Gryszkiewicz her power of attorney before her death, the warrant says. Friends and people who knew Chlasta told police they were shocked to hear she had allegedly given away so much money when she had always planned to leave it to her sister.

Chlasta's attorney told police "Maria was very conservative and frugal with her money, always looking for ways to keep expenses down."

The husband and wife are accused of cutting themselves checks in Chlasta's name, including one for $20,000 purporting to be money for their daughter's college tuition and a $50,000 "gift" signed with the memo, "Thanks for everything," the warrant alleges.

Chlasta died on Feb. 21, 2013 at Manchester Memorial Hospital. The day before her death, doctors described her as "definitely confused, really hard to evaluate" and a "really poor historian today," the warrant says.

The Gryszkiewiczs turned themselves in after learning police had obtained warrants for their arrests. Police said Adam Gryszkiewicz admitted to writing the wrong date on the $50,000 check and "continued to use [Chlasta''s] money after her death."

They were each charged with first-degree larceny, conspiracy to commit first-degree larceny, six counts of second-degree forgery and conspiracy to commit six counts of second-degree forgery.

They each posted $10,000 bond and are due in court on May 12.

It's not clear if the couple have an attorney.

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