Burglars are targeting Indiana families in those vulnerable days after the death of a loved one.
Police from two agencies are warning that burglars are combing through obituaries then breaking into the homes of the recently deceased and their relatives while the families are at the funeral.
"Thieves can find information and hours victims will be gone by reading the newspaper, on-line obituaries and social media," Indiana State Police Sgt. Ann Wojas said in a news release.
The burglars have hit mourning families in Newton, Jasper, Pulaski and Starke counties in northwest Indiana, Wojas said.
"Most of the burglaries have been done by forced entry," she said, "but there have been some occurrences where people have just left their doors unlocked."
Some criminals have struck while the families were making the funeral arrangements, Aaron Shoults, Chief Deputy with the Lawrence County Sheriff’s Office, told Fox59.
“What we see is a deliberate effort,” Shoults told the station. "This is not a random crime."
At least six homes in Lawrence County have been burglarized in the days after an obituary was published.
“The last thing on their mind is someone is going to break into their loved one’s home and that’s exactly what’s happening,” Shoults said.
Police are urging families to protect themselves while they are grieving.
Wojas said the best ways are having someone stay at the home during the funeral and memorial services; locking all doors and windows; and installing a home security system.
Families, Wojas said, can also call the local police non-emergency number and ask for extra patrols on the home while residents are away.