2 more suspects arrested in obituary burglary scheme

  • Wed May 16th, 2012 6:01pm
  • News

By Eric Stevick Herald Writer

EVERETT — The net is widening.

Two more arrests have been made in connection with a series of burglaries committed while mourning families attended the funerals.

More arrests are possible.

A Lake Stevens man, 23, was booked into the Snohomish County Jail Tuesday for investigation of conspiracy to commit burglary. He made a brief court appearance Wednesday.

Law officers searched the man’s home May 8 and recovered a 47-inch flat-screen television and a tall jewelry box that had been stolen in one of the burglaries. The man allegedly told police that his involvement was limited to accepting the stolen property.

Police believe thieves found their targets by scouring newspaper obituaries to identify empty homes between December and March.

Tyler Chase, 31, has been charged with burglary. A second man, Corey Arendt, 21, has been identified by police as a suspect, but no charges have been filed in the case. He was arrested again Tuesday for criminal conspiracy to commit burglary and is awaiting trial on unrelated theft and heroin charges.

Another man, 58, of Granite Falls, was arrested May 10 for investigation of possessing stolen property believed to have come from the burglaries. Detectives also found evidence of methamphetamine and marijuana at his home, Snohomish County Sheriff’s Office spokeswoman Shari Ireton said.

“The investigation into the burglaries continues and detectives anticipate further arrests will be made,” Ireton said.

A woman also told detectives that she drove a truck to pick up one of the suspects during one of the burglaries, court papers said.

Detectives recovered a laptop in Arendt’s home. It belongs to the Lake Stevens man who was arrested Tuesday, according to court records.

An examination of the computer found that it had been used to repeatedly access obituaries published on HeraldNet. It appeared the computer had been set up to automatically receive alerts whenever a new obituary was listed, according to court papers.

An informant in the jail told investigators that Chase and Arendt bragged about browsing obituaries online to target vulnerable homes, according to court records.

Detectives are investigating at least eight burglaries that occurred while families were attending funerals.

The sheriff’s office recovered property stolen during three of the burglaries when they served a search warrant on a Lake Stevens area home where the suspects stayed. Evidence was sent to a crime lab for forensics tests.

Marysville detectives also recovered stolen property from a gold-buying shop in Lynnwood and another in Portland, Ore. In Oregon, they recovered about $17,000 in stolen loot.

Marysville police had one case in the string. The home of John and Danutsia Burgy was hit March 23 while the couple attended his mother’s funeral.

Prosecutors filed charges against Chase in the Burgy burglary. The Burgys estimate burglars stole goods valued at roughly $400,000, including a dozen firearms, jewelry, gold, personal documents and family heirlooms. Only some of those items have been recovered.

Eric Stevick: 425-339-3446, stevick@heraldnet.com