Authorities are issuing a warning to loved ones of the recently deceased to be aware of a growing criminal trend – thieves who, as despicable as it sounds, burglarize the homes of those attending funerals.
Indecently, the raiding band of ruffians target and prey on the vulnerable, families who have recently lost someone and post information in obituaries or online regarding the arrangements – data the criminals use to their advantage to orchestrate robberies.
In one unfortunate tale, mentioned on Today, Cindy and Dennis Higdon of Kentucky had lost their son Christian, 20, last June.
While laying their child to rest, thieves ransacked the couple’s residence – going as far as taking sentimental items from the young man’s bedroom, along with jewelry, electronics, and other valuables.
Three suspects involved in the Higdon robbery, and responsible for several others, were later caught and charged.
The Daily Journal reports two men in New Jersey, 41-year-old Andrew McCloskey of Williamstown, and 28-year-old Nichelle Thau of Sicklerville, were both arrested and indicted on Friday in connection to several recent break-ins in the surrounding area. They too coordinated their crimes to those attending funerals using obituaries.
Police assert the duo checked the obituaries of the recently deceased, located addresses, and then robbed the homes while family and friends were at the funeral services.
In Medford, both McCloskey and Thau were charged on two counts of burglary, two counts of theft, one count of criminal mischief, and possession of a handgun. McCloskey was also charged in Franklin with burglary, theft, criminal mischief, trespassing, and weapons possession.
Larger, similar burglarizing rings have cropped up in areas like Seattle, victimizing the bereft and stealing thousands in money and personal valuables from as many as 10 homes at a time of those attending the same funeral.
Although the pathetic criminals are often caught, the sting of the blatant disrespect and utter offensiveness is traumatizing to those in mourning.
Police recommend when composing an obituary to not include the full names of immediate surviving family members, complete addresses, or details about hometowns. The more information provided, the easier it is for criminals to take advantage. Additionally, if it is at all possible, have someone house-sit or monitor the home – such as a friend or neighbor – and have them report anything suspicious.
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