Maid to the Stars Pleads Guilty

A housekeeper pleaded guilty Wednesday to stealing valuables from her celebrity employers, including Candice Bergen and Robert De Niro.

Lucyna Turyk-Wawrynowicz, 35, a native of Poland, tearfully pleaded guilty to grand larceny, identity theft and forgery. Under the terms of a plea deal, she will be sentenced on Feb. 21 to one to three years in prison.

Turyk-Wawrynowicz said, through a Polish interpreter, that she stole a pair of diamond earrings belonging to De Niro's wife, Grace Hightower. The prosecutor, Anne Schwartz, said the earrings were worth $95,500.

Detective Richard Kenny, lead investigator on the case, said he would return property to the housekeeper's victims immediately. These items include Hightower's earrings and shoes, Bergen's leather jacket and cameras, and other items.

In her guilty plea to forgery, Turyk-Wawrynowicz said she had used a stolen credit card to buy items at Barney's, the luxury clothing store on Madison Avenue, and had signed the card owner's name.

Schwartz said the housekeeper visited Barney's on three separate days and made a total of 18 purchases.

Turyk-Wawrynowicz also admitted to the judge that she stole the identity of a now-13-year-old girl. Schwartz said the defendant used the girl's Social Security number to obtain residency and work papers that she should not have gotten as an illegal alien.

Judge Renee White said the federal Department of Homeland Security will take custody of Turyk-Wawrynowicz after she finishes her sentence and then take whatever action that agency deems appropriate.

This would likely include deportation to Poland. An immigration official filed an affidavit with the court in December, saying Turyk-Wawrynowicz was not admissible as a resident because she had used fraud to remain in this country.

Turyk-Wawrynowicz has been jailed for all but a few weeks since her arrest in June 2005.