The residents of the Veterans Community Living Center served their country, yet their honor apparently meant little to two of their caretakers.

Two nurses' aides were arrested Monday at the center, at University Avenue and Civic Center Boulevard in University City, where they are alleged to have stolen a total of $2,000 from seven patients, some of whom are wheelchair-bound, said Dale Warman, spokesman for the Philadelphia Veterans Affairs Medical Center.

"This is a terrible situation and there's an investigation that is ongoing," he said.

Ginger Hendrickson, 46, of 49th Street near Parkside Avenue, in Parkside, and Laura Bell, 51, of 23rd Street near Washington Avenue, in Point Breeze, stole the cash and credit cards which they used to make hundreds of dollars in purchases in Philadelphia and Delaware, police said.

The two began their spree in January last year and have been videotaped going in and out of the rooms of their victims, Warman said. He declined to comment further due to the ongoing investigation.

"We don't want to jeopardize any court proceedings," he said.

"The health and well-being of our patients is our number-one priority. We want to be the first to know when something isn't going right."

The nursing home is a 240-bed facility that houses veterans who served as far back as World War II, said Warman.

The aides face third-degree felony charges, including criminal conspiracy, theft, forgery and related offenses. *