Some heirlooms recovered from obituary burglaries

MARYSVILLE — They know they’re not likely to get back most of what they lost, but a Marysville couple are celebrating what detectives have been able to recover from a March burglary committed while they attended a loved one’s funeral.

On Thursday, the Snohomish County Sheriff’s Office returned to Danutsia Burgy a family heirloom: a set of gold flatware from Germany. She also was reunited with some pearls. Her husband, John Burgy, was given back a firearm stolen in the March 23 burglary.

The loot recently was recovered as a part of the investigation into a crime ring police believe found their targets by scouring newspaper obituaries to identify empty homes.

The recovered items are a fraction of what the Burgys lost, but still meant a lot.

“These things are worth much more than just money,” John Burgy said. “They are deeply ingrained in memories. It’s so visceral.”

Each item has a memory that connects to the past, Burgy said.

The couple’s losses filled a 13-page report submitted to the Marysville Police Department. The list includes more than 100 pieces of jewelry and a dozen firearms. It totals more than $400,000 in losses.

Marysville police and sheriff’s deputies have been investigating at least eight burglaries that occurred while the victims were attending the funerals of family members.

Several weeks ago, sheriff’s detective Margaret Ludwig was able to return rings to another woman whose home was targeted. The rings had belonged to her mother and were stolen while she attended her mother’s funeral.

“As soon as she saw them, she just started crying,” Ludwig said.

The return of stolen items to the Burgys also was heartwarming, she said.

Danutsia Burgy brought her father to the north precinct. George Gordon, 86, from Poland, was held by the Nazis at the Buchenwald concentration camp during World War II. Tens of thousands of people died or were executed at the camp on German soil.

“It was an honor to meet her dad,” Ludwig said. “To me, he’s a celebrity, to have survived all that.”

Danutsia Burgy hopes that someday detectives will recover the strip of cloth with a prisoner number from the uniform her father wore at Buchenwald.

Four people have been arrested for investigation of burglary or crimes related to the obituary break-ins.

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. A Lake Stevens man, 23, is under investigation for conspiracy to commit burglary and a Granite Falls man, 58, is suspected of possessing stolen property.

Eric Stevick: 425-339-3446,

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