TORONTO – Mourners across the city have been targeted in a string of residential robberies that occur while they are out saying their final goodbyes to a loved one.
At least three homes have been broken into over the last week while the occupants were attending a funeral for “a close family member,” Toronto Police said Friday.
However, as investigators work to connect the dots on a slew of similar break-and-enters around town, it’s beginning to look as though the latest three robberies may just be the tip of the iceberg.
“People are being victimized during a very vulnerable time in their life,” Const. Wendy Drummond said Friday. “They are in a state of grieving and, of course, the last thing they’re thinking about is home security.”
The three most recent break-ins have occurred in 33 Division, she said. But there have been “numerous” other such robberies in at least four other police divisions over the last couple of months.
It’s thought the same insensitive thief, or thieves, may be responsible for all of the break and enters.
“But at this point, we don’t quite have enough evidence to say for certain they’re all connected,” Drummond said.
All of the homes have been broken into during broad daylight, she said.
But more importantly, the residents of the homes targetted have all been out at a funeral service when they were robbed.
“That’s the commonality in all of these incidents,” Drummond said.
Investigators suspect whoever is behind the robberies is choosing their targets by viewing funeral notifications published in newspapers and in online obituaries.
“We don’t know yet if we’re looking for one person or a some sort of organized crime group,” Drummond said.
She reminded Toronto residents to lock their doors and windows each and every time they leave home.
And Drummond urged anyone planning to attend a funeral service to ask a family member, friend or neighbour to watch their home.
If you have information pertaining to this case, call detectives at 416-808-3300 or Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-TIPS (8477).
BY CHRIS DOUCETTE ,TORONTO SUN