CHINA SPRING, TX — The McLennan County Sheriff's Office is sending a warning if your loved one has recently passed away. They've found criminals in Central Texas are scouring obituaries to target the homes of grieving families and break in.
Most recently, the McNamara family's China Spring home was broken in to while they were away mourning the loss of their loved one , leaving the widow grieving so much loss.
"She's nervous, as rightfully she should be. She's 82-years-old and wants to feel secure in her own home. It was complete shock. We had no idea that people would even consider doing something like that," said John McNamara, son of the deceased.
The family was able to recover a car that was stolen, but the thief got away with multiple guns, accessories, and over $50,000-worth of jewelry.
"I hate it. I was sick to my stomach the night after the funeral. That was bad enough. How low can people get?" said Glenn McNamara, brother of the deceased.
The victims are related to the McLennan County Sheriff Parnell McNamara and say they're tracking down the suspect.
"You know it hit pretty close to home, believe me, but we're going to work just as hard for anybody that gets robbed like this," said Sheriff McNamara.
Just two weeks prior, a Woodway man's home was burglarized while the family was attending his funeral.
It turns out crooks are looking through newspapers and online obituary announcements to find their next target. Families don't know that the details of their loved one's funeral are letting burglars know the perfect time to strike
"It takes a real lowdown dirt bag to traumatize a family that is already traumatized by the death of a loved one," said Sheriff McNamara.
MSCO says they've made arrests this month related to burglaries, and say whoever is preying on grieving families will get what's coming to them.
"Mark my word, we're not gonna let up one minute on them. We're hot on their trail, and we need to let them know that we are coming after them," Sheriff McNamara said.
The McNamara family is offering a $3,000 reward for any tips that help lead to an arrest.
If you have any information, you're asked to contact the sheriff's department.
So what can you do to stay safe if you're away for an event?
In any public announcement or social media post, avoid publishing specific details and time. Also ask police to keep an eye out or have a neighbor house sit while you're away. Lastly, consider installing a video surveillance system to help identify the suspect if you become a victim.