Four recent home burglaries in North Central Wisconsin have something in common; the thieves targeted homes where the owners had recently died as their funeral services were taking place.
The latest crime happened southeast of Antigo, just a few weeks ago. The three prior were in the Junction City area of Portage County.
As if grieving families aren't going through enough, checking on their loved one's home after their funeral to find it's been burglarized is a devastating blow.
Cpt. Dale O'Kray with the Portage County Sheriff's Department says it's possible whoever is responsible is going through obituaries to see when funeral services are taking place, and then targeting the home of the recently departed.
They can easily find the address in a phone book or online.
"You go through a lot when someone dies in your family, not only all the preparations and things you have to check on, you don't want to have to be worrying about someone breaking into the home of the deceased or your home," Cpt. O'Kray said.
Countless valuables were stolen from the four homes including: jewelry, coins, money, tools and other collectibles.
Collectibles that family members will no longer have to keep their loved one's memory alive.
Detectives are following up on some leads, but nobody has been arrested in any of the burglaries so far.
Cpt. O'Kray says if you're worried this could happen to you or your family make sure the home is locked and find a neighbor who can keep an eye on the house during the funeral services.
He says you should do the same if you're going on vacation. Plus, if you give them a call, many police departments will have on-duty officers patrol by the home during a funeral.
There is a cash award available for anyone with information leading to an arrest. Call Portage County Crimestoppers at 1-888-346-6600.