A housekeeper charged with looting the homes of Manhattan’s rich and famous claimed she targeted Robert De Niro’s wife because she was a bad employer, according to court documents made public Tuesday.
“If she treated me better, with more respect, I probably wouldn’t have done this,” Lucyna Turyk-Wawrynowicz allegedly told police following her arrest.
Turyk-Wawrynowicz, 35, pleaded not guilty last month to charges including grand larceny and criminal possession of stolen property. An indictment has identified the theft victims as De Niro’s wife, Grace Hightower, as well as Candice Bergen and Renee Rockefeller.
“I didn’t steal from Isabella Rossellini because she treated me well. I only stole from people who didn’t treat me with respect,” Turyk-Wawrynowicz said, according to the court documents.
While searching the defendant’s home in June, investigators found a set of $96,000 diamond earrings belonging to Hightower and a stolen suede jacket worth $1,000, authorities said.
An attorney for the De Niro family, Tom Harvey, said the housekeeper worked two weeks for Hightower and had little contact with her.
Turyk-Wawrynowicz first denied raiding Hightower’s jewelry box. But police claim that when asked about the earrings she responded, “They are at my house, and I will get them for you.”
She also allegedly told officers she had tried to contact Hightower after the theft out of guilt.
“I feel horrible, but she wouldn’t take my phone calls anymore,” she allegedly said. “I know I’m guilty. I feel horrible about what I’ve done.”
Turyk-Wawrynowicz made a brief appearance in state Supreme Court in Manhattan on Tuesday; another pretrial hearing was set for Oct. 11. A telephone call to her attorney was not immediately returned.