A Bronx woman has been found guilty of using obituaries to target homes of mourners and then burglarizing the houses while families were at wakes and funerals.
On October 14, a jury found 30-year-old Latonia Stewart “guilty of burglarizing six homes of families she targeted because they were attending funeral services of loved ones between 2017 and 2018,” according to the Westchester County District Attorney’s Office.
“Stewart targeted the homes after searching through obituaries online,” the office states. The burglar hit Westchester County homes in Cortlandt, Greenburgh, Ossining, Rye Brook, Scarsdale, and Tarrytown. The homeowners were attending the wakes or funerals of their spouses when Stewart robbed them, the district attorney’s office states.
Stewart used a sledgehammer to break the windows and glass doors of some homes in attempts to gain entry, according to the district attorney’s office.
“It is absolutely appalling that people mourning the loss of a loved one were specifically targeted and taken advantage of in such a cruel and heinous manner,” District Attorney Miriam Rocah said.
According to WFLA, Rocah reportedly said that Stewart stole jewelry, watches, and silverware, among other valuables.
On May 1, 2018, Stewart was arrested when police observed “her driving away from the home of a deceased person with jewelry in the vehicle and the website with an obituary pulled up on her cellphone,” the district attorney’s office says.
“Following her arrest, police recovered more stolen items and burglar’s tools in her car and at her Bronx residence,” according to the D.A.
Stewart was found guilty on six counts of burglary in the second degree and criminal possession of stolen property in the fourth degree, both of which are felonies, according to the district attorney’s office.
“Stewart faces a sentence range from a minimum of 3 1/2 years to a maximum of 15 years in a state prison on each burglary count,” the office says.
Her sentencing is scheduled to take place on November 22.