Imagine coming home from the wake of a family member to find your home ransacked.
A husband and wife team from Johnsburg in McHenry County stands accused of targeting people they suspected would be attending wakes by studying obituaries in newspapers, McHenry County sheriff's police said.
"It's a tragedy compounded when you're dealing with the death of a family member and to come home and have your house that's been rummaged through," McHenry County Undersheriff Andrew Zinke said. "To be a victim at one of the lowest points in your life, it's terrible and these are the worst kind of criminals out there."
Police say they know of about a half dozen such burglaries in three counties committed by Jacquelyn S. Buchholz, 24, and Jason K. Werner, 26.
On Sept. 21, Barrington police arrested the couple in the home they share on the 100 block of Pleasant View Drive.
Their arrest came a day after Barrington police responded to a burglary in progress on the 800 block of Meadow Lane, Police Chief Jerry Libit said.
Police found Buchholz's phone at the scene and used it to track her and her husband to their Johnsburg home.
The Barrington burglary did not involve an obituary, Libit said.
Each was charged with burglary in Barrington and remains behind bars at the Cook County jail. Bail was set at $80,000 for both, which means they need $8,000 to get out of jail while the case proceeds. They are scheduled to be in court Oct. 12 in Rolling Meadows.
Barrington police later contacted the McHenry County sheriff's office and, during a subsequent interview with McHenry and Boone county police, the couple confessed to about a half-dozen residential burglaries in unincorporated areas of the counties and admitted they used obituaries, police said.
Multiple charges are pending, but for now, the pair have each been charged with one count of residential burglary and theft in McHenry County.
Meanwhile, if your private information has been published in an obituary, police ask that you get a friend or family member to watch your house while you're gone.
The McHenry County sheriff's office also offers extra patrols and vacation watches for those who request them. For more information about that, visit www.mchenrysheriff.org.