Sterling woman accused of stealing from residents at nursing home where she worked

Warrants issued on multiple charges in Whiteside, Ogle, Lee and Carroll counties

Ashlee N. Bruce in November 2023

Police in four area counties are looking for a 33-year-old Sterling woman charged with a variety of crimes, including stealing from residents at a nursing home where she worked.

Ashlee N. Bruce, also known as Ashlee Much and also formerly of Dixon, is charged in Whiteside County court with five counts of burglary in a case filed Jan. 12, 2023; two counts of forgery in a case filed May 4; and theft of more than $500 but less than $10,000 and possession of a stolen debit and credit card in a case filed June 16.

She faces three to seven years in prison on each burglary charge, two to five years for forgery and theft, and one to three years for possession of the stolen cards.

Details of the accusations against her in the first two cases were not available Friday – two of the charging documents were sealed when arrest warrants were issued, although one involves thefts from residents at a Sterling nursing home where she worked, Sterling police Detective Maggie Ellmaker said.

In the third case, Bruce is accused of taking a man’s debit and credit card and using them to buy more than $2,000 worth of goods at nine establishments in Rock Falls and Sterling on April 22, that charging document shows.

Bruce last appeared in Whiteside County court on Nov. 14, when she was released under the terms of the Pretrial Fairness Act.

She failed to appear at a subsequent pretrial hearing Dec. 18 in all three cases.

Ashlee N. Bruce in 2023

An arrest warrant also was issued in Ogle County, where Bruce failed to appear at a hearing Dec. 27 on charges of possession of less than 5 grams of meth, which is punishable by two to five years in prison, and destroying evidence, which carries a one- to four-year sentence.

Those charges were filed Dec. 1.

Bruce also is charged with driving on a suspended license and obstructing identification, which are misdemeanors.

In Carroll County, Bruce is charged with possession of less than 5 grams of meth in two cases, one filed in November and one in December 2022. Arrest warrants are issued in those cases, too.

A body attachment warrant also was issued in Lee County on Dec. 6, where she was convicted of misdemeanor possession of drug paraphernalia June 14, 2022, then stopped paying her fine in November.

Bruce is 5-foot-10, 240 pounds with auburn hair and hazel eyes. She sometimes wears glasses.

She claims on her Facebook page to be a psychic.

Anyone with information on her whereabouts is asked to call Sterling police at 815-632-6640 or the anonymous reward hotlines of the Whiteside County Crimestoppers at 815-625-7867 or Lee-Ogle Crimestoppers at 888-228-4488.

A reward of up to $1,000 is available for information leading to an arrest and/or conviction.

Kathleen Schultz

Kathleen A. Schultz

Kathleen Schultz is a Sterling native with 40 years of reporting and editing experience in Arizona, California, Montana and Illinois.