Maid Charged With Stealing From De Niro

A Polish domestic with a star-studded clientele was charged Tuesday with cleaning up at their homes, making off with thousands of dollars in clothing and jewelry from four victims — including a pair of diamond earrings worth $95,000 from Robert De Niro's (search) wife.

Lucyna Turyk-Wawrynowicz, 35, was arrested Monday at her Queens, N.Y., home, where cops said they found the earrings and other loot.

Besides the earrings, Wawrynowicz is accused of taking a $1,000 pair of shoes and a $500 belt from the De Niro apartment.

The housekeeper and nanny had also been employed by "Murphy Brown" star Candice Bergen (search) and actress Isabella Rossellini (search) and apparently stole from them, too, sources said.

Investigators said they recovered another pair of earrings and a $1,000 suede coat taken in 2002 from an additional victim.

Prosecutors say when that victim — who they did not identify — approached Wawrynowicz about the missing coat and earrings, the mendacious maid threatened blackmail.

"If you have me arrested, I will go to the press and tell them the reason I was fired and accused of these crimes is because your husband sexually harassed me and I refused his advances," Wawrynowicz said, according to the criminal complaint.

In a still another case, Wawrynowicz allegedly stole a credit card on which she rang up 16 charges and forged her bosses' signature at Barneys in 2001.

"We have the defendant on camera in the store for some of the purchases," said Assistant Manhattan DA Anne Schwartz.

When confronted in that case, Wawrynowicz said, "I did not think you would notice," the complaint says.

Wawrynowicz was charged with grand larceny, possession of stolen goods, forgery and coercion.

She was arraigned last night in Manhattan Criminal Court and taken to Rikers Island. Bail was set at $150,000, but she'll be at Rikers at least two days so authorities can verify where she plans to get the money.

Wawrynowicz will be back in court Friday.

Wawrynowicz began working for De Niro's wife, Grace Hightower (search), 51, in May. Shortly after, items began disappearing from the couple's home at The Langham, a complex on Central Park West.

The family reported the thefts to police on June 3. Several days later, investigators began focusing on Wawrynowicz, after Hightower's accountant, Lula Grant, told them the housekeeper had admitted taking a pair of shoes, which she had later mailed back.

De Niro's spokesman, Stan Rosenfield, said the actor had no comment.

Hightower also declined to comment.

Neighbors in Middle Village described Wawrynowicz and her husband as polite and quiet people.

"They mind their own business," said Sam Santoro, who said he heard she had lost her job about a month ago.

Additional reporting by Larry Celona, Jennifer Fermino, Tatiana Delgiannakis and Michael White.