New York Woman Allegedly Studied Obituaries To Victimize & Rob Grieving Families

When the family members returned home from funerals, they would find their homes torn apart.

August 05, 2019

Photo by: Mug shot of Latonia Stewart [Westchester County District Attorney's Office]

Mug shot of Latonia Stewart [Westchester County District Attorney's Office]

By: Catherine Townsend

BRONX, NEW YORK — A 26-year-old New York woman is accused of targeting grieving families by reading obituaries, learning when loved ones would be at funerals — and then burglarizing their homes while they attended the services.

Latonia Shelecia Stewart allegedly stole property from at least half a dozen homes during a crime spree that took place between 2017 and 2018, according to NBC News.

Stewart was arraigned on Wednesday on a 22-count indictment charging her with burglary, grand larceny, criminal possession of stolen property, and other charges.

Authorities in Westchester County say that Stewart, who allegedly targeted wealthy neighborhoods, pored over obituaries to get the dates of the funerals. She was then allegedly able to determine where the decedent lived, and then made plans to rob the homes of absent family members. According to the indictment, Stewart would specifically target bereaved spouses.

When the family members returned home from funerals, they would find their homes torn apart — with windows broken and valuables gone, according to the Westchester County district attorney.

Authorities have linked Stewart to burglaries in Rye Brook, Cortlandt, Scarsdale, Irvington, Ossining, and Tarrytown — and she faces additional charges for home invasions in Greenwich, Connecticut; and in Carmel, New York.

On May 1, 2018, police pulled Stewart over and found her inside the car with her baby. Officers also noticed jewelry, an obituary pulled up on her cell phone, and a mallet hammer under her seat, according to NBC News.

Authorities say that they believe that Stewart used the mallet to smash into her alleged victims' homes.

Stewart's lawyers have not responded to the news station's request for comment. She is due back in court on August 13.

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