Women face charges in break-ins linked to obituaries

Heather Rivers, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 7:57 PM ET

WOODSTOCK, Ont. -- Two out-of-town women are facing charges for stealing from homes, including the residence of a young Woodstock widow, while the residents were attending funerals.

Michelle Elliot, 45, of Hamilton and Laura Rock, 26, of Waterloo are accused of scouring online obituaries and social media to target homes for break-ins.

The accused face a total of 19 charges, including break and enter and thefts, conspiracy to commit an indictable offence, possession of stolen property and possession of break-in tools.

The duo is accused of obtaining names and personal information of family members through obituary advertisements. They would then research the names through social media sites.

Twelve homes were robbed during the spree, with about $100,000 worth of computers, electronics, jewelry and other items stolen.

In February, a young Woodstock widow returned from her husband's funeral during daylight hours to find her home robbed and ransacked.

The crime prompted a warning from police to have a neighbour or friend watch over the home during a funeral or visitation.

Besides Woodstock, police said homes were broken into in the Waterloo Region, the Niagara Region, the Halton Region and Brantford.

The 26-year-old, who was knew several of the victims, was arrested in Waterloo. The 45-year-old is being held in Hamilton in relation to an April break-in in Port Dover.

The Waterloo Regional Police worked on the case with local police, as well as departments in Niagara, Halton, Brantford and the OPP.


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