Thieves reportedly ransacked a California woman’s home as she attended the funeral for her husband of 66 years, according to CBS Los Angeles.
Beverly Singer, 87, returned from the funeral home to find personal possessions, family heirlooms and jewels had all been stolen from the house she shared with Melvin Singer, her late husband. She believes the culprit or culprits took advantage of a door that was accidentally left open as they prepared for the service.
“I couldn’t believe, stuff all over the floor,” the widow told reporters. “I mean, clothes that were out of the cupboards and so forth.”
Police suspect that this is the work of “obituary thieves”—individuals who search through death notices to identify easy targets. Knowing when a homeowner is away to attend a funeral allows them ample time to strike.
“How could anybody be so cruel to walk into a person’s home that is suffering from a death?” Singer asked.
“It’s sad that people have to be so desperate to do these ugly things to hurt other people,” she told NBC4.
To prevent obituary thieves from victimizing you or a loved one, police recommend that grieving families don’t list the time or date of the funeral in newspapers or other public listings. Beverly Singer went even further, suggesting that someone should be in the home during the funeral service itself.
“Somebody’s got to be here,” she advised. “You cannot have an empty house because that’s a wonderful invitation for somebody to break in.”
News stations have pointed out that this isn’t the first time the Singers have been the victims of a scam.
Authorities were investigating a shifty contractor at the time of Melville Singer’s death. Robert Thanh Trinh allegedly tricked the pair into signing off on unnecessary home repairs, and allegedly forged their names while they were in the hospital. Trinh, who was arrested, is accused of swindling nearly $50,000 from the Singer family.
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