‘Obit burglar’ convicted of robbing homes while families attended funerals

WHITE PLAINS, N.Y. — A New York City woman has been convicted of using obituaries to target and rob the homes of grieving families who were attending funerals.

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Latonia Stewart, 30, of the Bronx, was found guilty of six counts of burglary and criminal possession of stolen property, both felonies, the Westchester County District Attorney’s Office announced Friday. The robberies occurred in the cities of Cortlandt, Greenburgh, Ossining, Rye Brook, Scarsdale and Tarrytown, WPIX reported. The robberies occurred between December 2017 and May 2018, according to the television station.

In a separate case, Stewart was charged in late 2019 with larceny and burglary stemming from a 2017 robbery in Greenwich, Connecticut, where $20,000 was taken from a home, the Greenwich Time reported. That case is still pending, the newspaper reported.

The weeklong trial in New York ended on Thursday,

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Stewart was arrested in 2018 for allegedly scanning obituaries to find out when grieving families would be attending funerals, WNBC reported. According to the district attorney’s office, Stewart robbed the homes while the families were at the services, the television station reported.

The district attorney’s office said Stewart was arrested on May 1, 2018, “after observing her driving away from the home of a deceased person with jewelry in the vehicle.” Authorities said Stewart had a website with an obituary pulled up on her cellphone, according to the Time.

“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 commend the great work of my team, the Greenburgh Police Department, and the other law enforcement partners who handled this case, and I hope that this verdict brings some measure of comfort to the victims.”

Stewart faces between 3.5 years to 15 years in state prison on each burglary count, according to WPIX.