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Woman Sentenced For Burglarizing Homes In Three Counties While Families Were At Funerals

Latonia Shelecia Stewart
Latonia Shelecia Stewart Photo Credit: Greenburgh Police Department

A 30-year-old woman who targeted grieving families in the Hudson Valley will spend more than a decade behind bars after being found guilty of burglarizing multiple homes in the region.

In October, Bronx resident Latonia Stewart was found guilty of six counts of burglary and criminal possession of stolen property following a weeklong trial for a rash of New York and Connecticut burglaries in Westchester, Fairfield, and Putnam counties between the winter of 2017 and spring 2018.

Prosecutors said that Stewart, known as "The Obit Bandit," would search through posted obituaries to find times when the families were out of the house before she burglarized the homes.

This week, Stewart was sentenced to a term of 11 to 13 years in state prison. She had faced up to 15 years in prison on each count, for a total of 90 years in prison.

Westchester County District Attorney Mimi Rocah said that between December 2017 and May 2018, Stewart burglarized the homes of six Westchester residents in Cortlandt, Greenburgh, Ossining, Rye Brook, Scarsdale, and Tarrytown who were out of the house attending their spouse’s wake or funeral service.

She also burglarized homes in Greenwich in Fairfield County and Carmel in Putnam County.

Stewart targeted the homes after searching through obituaries online, Rocah said.

Jewelry, watches, silverware, and other valuables were stolen during the burglaries. Stewart also used a sledgehammer to break windows and glass doors to gain entry into certain homes and caused further damage to the homes once inside.

On May 1, 2018, Stewart was arrested by members of the Greenburgh Police Department after she was seen driving away from the home of a target who recently died with stolen jewelry inside the vehicle and the website with an obituary pulled up on her cellphone.

Following her arrest, police recovered more stolen items and burglar tools in her car and at her Bronx residence.

“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,” Rocah said at the time.

“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.”

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