Woman used obituaries to target grieving families’ homes, New York officials say

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A New York City woman is facing years in prison after authorities say she used obituaries to target and rob the homes of grieving families while they attended funeral services.

A jury convicted Latonia Stewart, 30, on several charges, including six counts of second-degree burglary, the Westchester County District Attorney’s Office announced Oct. 15. The Bronx woman was also found guilty on one count of fourth-degree possession of stolen property.

Between December 2017 and May 2018, Stewart burglarized six Westchester County homes she found while browsing online obituaries, according to county officials. She broke into the homes using a sledgehammer, authorities said, and got away with jewelry, silverware and other valuables.

She robbed residences in Cortlandt, Greenburgh, Ossining, Rye Brook, Scarsdale and Tarrytown while the families were attending the funerals of their loved ones.

“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,” Westchester County District Attorney Miriam Rocah said in a statement. “I hope that this verdict brings some measure of comfort to the victims.”

Greenburgh police arrested Stewart in May 2018 after she was spotted leaving one of the homes she’s accused of burglarizing. Cops found jewelry in the car and a “website with an obituary pulled up on her cellphone,” authorities said.

More stolen goods and burglar’s tools were found at her home in the Bronx.

In 2019, Stewart was also arrested on burglary and larceny charges after she was accused of breaking into a home and stealing more than $20,000 worth of valuables, the Greenwich Time reported. That case is pending.

She faces 3.5 to 15 years in state prison on each of the six burglary counts, according to the district attorney’s office.

A sentencing hearing is scheduled for Nov. 22.

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