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Burglars Use Obituaries to Develop Target List for Home Intrusions

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August 30, 2011
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Burglars Use Obituaries to Develop Target List for Home Intrusions

The practice of targeting surviving family members for burglary is clearly vile, but it’s still happening. I first picked up this string earlier this year, with stories from CT and MA, and happily have not seen many similar reports – until an article emerged from Lake Mary, Florida.

Authorities say two Edgewater men organized a statewide burglary ring to break into people's homes while they were away to attend funerals. The Florida Department of Law Enforcement has charged Jason Whittenton and Dwayne Whittenton Sr. with 11 counts, including grand theft. Investigators said 10 different counties were targeted:

  • Brevard, Clay, Flagler, Lake, Marion
  • Osceola, Seminole, St. Johns, Sumter, Volusia

Obituaries Not the Same as Facebook

I’ve written to caution people about sharing too much on social media, like travel plans, trip photos while still away, etc. Obituaries should fall into another category, in my opinion. While burglary is always a crime of violation, victimizing people who are grieving seems to set a new standard for moral bankruptcy. The good news is that police are smarter about finding patterns in these crimes, and tracking down the perps. More on the two Florida felons:

Authorities said the two men were responsible for 28 burglaries between March and October 2010, and stole items worth more than $500,000. According to authorities, the suspects would go through obituaries and find information about the surviving family members. When they knew they were out of town for the funerals, the suspects would then go and target the homes. Both men were arrested last week.

What You Can Do

Scheduling a housesitter during a funeral makes sense – as does asking neighbors to keep an eye on the house. You would think that if any time would be safe to leave a home unoccupied, it would be during a funeral: however; someone who is committed to separating you from your belongings clearly does not care about why the house is empty. The best protection, as we know, is a monitored alarm system, and statistics show that with that system you are three times better off than your unprotected neighbor. FrontPoint is on the case with systems that are safer, smarter, simpler, and more affordable. As the leader in wireless home security and the #1 rated alarm company in the US, FrontPoint takes residential intrusion very seriously, no matter when it happens. And so should you.



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