Man pleads guilty to two of county’s obit burglaries

EVERETT — A suspect in a series of break-ins that occurred when grieving families were at funerals pleaded guilty Thursday to several crimes related to the string of burglaries.

Tyler A. Chase, 32, admitted to breaking into two homes and possessing or trafficking goods stolen from four others.

Prosecutors believe he and other burglars would target family members of people who had recently died and whose funeral information appeared in obituaries.

Typically, the thieves would steal televisions, jewelry, firearms and “items that were easily and quickly disposed of on the black market,” Snohomish County deputy prosecutor Craig Matheson wrote in court papers. “Approximately 10 residential burglaries were identified as being part of this scheme.”

Four other people have been arrested for investigation of related allegations, such as possessing stolen property.

Chase on Thursday admitted to breaking into the home of a Snohomish couple when they were attending the March 12 funeral of the husband’s mother and an Arlington area home of a man who was attending his wife’s funeral March 18.

The Lake Stevens man also acknowledged that he possessed and sold property belonging to John and Danutsia Burgy. The Marysville couple were attending a funeral for John Burgy’s mother March 23 when someone broke into their home and stole two safes and valuables worth roughly $400,000.

Chase faces a standard sentencing range of up to 3 1/2 years in prison. Sentencing was set for Sept. 10.

Another defendant pleaded guilty to four felony counts related to the crimes.

Michelle Herrera, 33, admitted helping with a burglary and possessing and trafficking in stolen property.

The Marysville woman could face up to 2 1/2 years in prison. Her sentencing is scheduled for next Tuesday.

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

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