Police Say 'Obit Bandit' Burglarized Homes of Mourners - NECN
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Police Say 'Obit Bandit' Burglarized Homes of Mourners

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    'Obit Bandit' Accused of Targeting Homes of Mourners

    Randy Brunelle, known to police as the "obit bandit," is accused of finding loved ones of people listed in the obituaries of newspapers and breaking into their homes while they were attending funerals.

    (Published Monday, Feb. 12, 2018)

    Investigators say Randy Brunelle would find his victims in the obituary section of the newspaper. Now, his alleged crimes have landed him on the front page.

    Brunelle, 35, of Plymouth, Massachusetts, has been nicknamed the "Obit Bandit" by Barnstable Police after they say he would break into people's homes while they were attending funerals of loved ones.

    According to court paperwork, it's been happening since September. In once case, Brunelle allegedly tried to break into an 89-year-old widow's home. The woman was "too frail" to go to her husband's funeral. Her nurse saw him on the porch and questioned him.

    Brunelle allegedly claimed to be delivering a package, but no package was in hand. She then locked the door and called police.

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    Authorities didn't know who they were looking for until they called police in nearby Sandwich.

    "There had been a Sandwich Police Officer's mother's home who had been broken into," said Jessica Croker, assistant district attorney for the Cape and Islands. "According to that individual, Randy Brunelle ... has been the suspect in that crime."

    Investigators started tracking his phone and tracing his vehicles.

    Police were able to track his license plate and see when he was crossing the bridge to get on the Cape.

    As more and more cases were reported, police pinpointed Brunelle's location to find out where he was when the crime happened.

    It came to an end on Friday after police pulled Brunelle over. They say they found his coat pocket full of jewelry with a jewelry box in the car.

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    Brunelle filed a plea of not guilty.

    Prosecutors asked the judge to set bail at $15,000. The judge upped that number to $25,000.

    Diane Mulligan, Brunelle's attorney, is pointing to a heroin addiction as the cause of her client's "downward spiral."

    Mulligan said Brunelle has had several operations and his addiction started after having surgery on his back.

    Her client was wearing a blue dress shirt as he limped to the podium to be arraigned Monday afternoon, a tattoo with the name "Marissa" inked on his neck.

    His wife, Marissa Brunelle, sat in the last row of the nearly empty courtroom.

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    According to court paperwork, when police searched their home in Plymouth, she told them she had never seen any of the jewelry before. She declined to comment outside of the courthouse.

    When asked if her client showed any remorse for what happened, Mulligan said, "I really don't want to talk about that."

    Barnstable Police still have about 100 pieces of jewelry they are still trying to identify.

    If you are missing any jewelry that you believe was taken while you were out of your home, you're asked to give police a call.

    NBC10 Boston reached out to three victims in the Barnstable-area who were allegedly burglarized by Brunelle. All declined to comment.

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