A small crime wave in Grundy County recently has targeted people already dealing with bereavement. Sheriff Rick Penning says burglars are targeting people they may find in the obituary reports. In northeastern Grundy they’ve had four recent home burglaries that happened while the occupants were out attending the funerals of family members of friends. They’re putting together details of the cases to figure out whether they involve the same suspects or are just random acts.
The sheriff says there may be several reasons for the string of crimes. The sheriff says criminals might commit burglaries to support a drug habit, get quick cash, buy drugs or sustain their lifestyle. Some might steal out of a need, but till he can “zero in on some suspects,” he can’t say what’s the reason behind this case.
For now he’s urging people to give some attention to their home security. He says a lot of people are from the old times when they didn’t lock their doors, but he recommends locks and deadbolts, security lights and maybe even an alarm system that would send an alert to a security company or local police, depending on where they live.
He says people also should get to know more about their neighbors, especially if they’ll be gone for a time. His office will offer residents of the county a “vacation watch” and when someone requests it and says they’ll be gone, deputies will periodically check the home to see that it’s secure.
Believe it or not, the tactic of robbing a home when everyone’s gone at a funeral is not new, and law-enforcement officials have been recommending for decades that a helpful neighbor or friend volunteer to stay at the family’s home during a funeral, to prevent unscrupulous crooks from taking advantage of their absence.