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Family wants answers after woman's rings were allegedly stolen at DC hospital

Family wants answers after woman's rings were allegedly stolen at DC hospital (Photo Courtesy of Gruber family)

Local family members of a Connecticut woman who passed away in February want answers after they believe someone at a D.C. hospital stole her rings off her finger.

The Gruber family filed a report with the Metropolitan Police Department on February 12 after the rings disappeared from their mother Ruth Gruber’s hand.

At the time, Ruth Gruber was staying at Medstar Washington Hospital Center. She went to several hospitals and facilities for a heart infection and passed away February 19.

Ruth Gruber had come to the D.C. area for what was supposed to be a weekend visit to her family. Two of her adult children live in the area.

Ruth Gruber’s daughter Jennifer says for 67 years her mother wore a diamond platinum engagement ring and a platinum wedding band from her husband, who passed away more than a year ago.

“She never took them off,” Jennifer Gruber said. “Her hands were very swollen, and so we had tried a few days before to get them off her hands, but we couldn’t budge them.”

A D.C. police report indicates Gruber’s son saw the rings on his mother’s hand while visiting her around 2:30 p.m. on February 11.

The report says a hospital staff member does not remember seeing the rings on Gruber’s hand around 8:30 p.m. that night.

Jennifer and her sister noticed the rings were missing while visiting their mother the next day.

The police report says nothing turned up from a search.

The family believes someone took advantage of their mother’s condition to force the rings off her fingers.

“Whoever saw that opportunity to rob my mother really had to have applied a lot of force,” Jennifer said. “Her hand was so bruised. It’s awful.”

The police report says the injuries on Ruth Gruber’s hand were consistent with someone forcing the rings off. It says the floor she was being treated on does not have any security cameras.

Jennifer says the rings were valued at around $14,000, but she says the monetary value is meaningless to her family, which had planned to pass them on as heirlooms.

Jennifer says she is upset by the way the theft was handled by Medstar Washington Hospital Center.

“We’ve never heard anything since the day after it happened,” she said. “How long does it take to write a letter? Or to make a phone call?”

Jennifer says her family has not received an apology directly from Medstar. After ABC7 News asked the hospital about the case, a spokesperson sent us the following statement:

“We are very sorry that we could not locate Mrs. Gruber’s ring. We know that this was an item of personal importance to her and her family, and we regret that it has not been found.”

DC Police said Thursday that the theft is still an open, unsolved case. They encourage anyone with information that could help them to call (202) 727-9099.

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