Burglary suspects accused of targeting homes of people who recently died

CHIPPEWA FALLS, Wis. (WEAU)--Two people have been arrested after a string of burglaries at the homes of people who had recently died.

The Chippewa County Sheriff's Department says in Mar., officers were called to a home in the Town of Howard that had been burglarized. The owner had passed away just a few days before.

Deputies say an investigation led them to 32-year-old Seth R. Furgason, who officers arrested in Wisconsin Rapids. Police say officers also arrested 24-year-old Casandra M. Miller in Wisconsin Rapids after a search warrant turned up some items from the burglaries. Her picture is not available at this time.

"(Furgason) is victimizing people of in this nature that have already suffered a loss in their family, a loss of a loved one, and now they find that they've become victims of a burglary," Chippewa County Undersheriff Eugene Gutsch said.

The Chippewa County Sheriff's Office says Furgason checked obituaries and repeatedly called their homes before breaking in last month. He was arrested last week, along with his girlfriend, and is suspected of burglarizing at least five homes in four other counties.

"The way they went about it, going through the obituaries, that's pretty low. Family went through enough hard times without that," Gerald Eder of the Town of Howard said.

Gutsch suggested having someone watch a loved one's home during a funeral or wake and locking up homes and valuables.

"I think if we protect ourselves, we can maybe take some precautions, lock doors make sure you have a security system or somebody watching the house if you know it's going to be empty," Town of Howard Clerk Sue Haake said.

"It's kind of like the bombing last week, it shouldn't have happened, but it did. But we gotta take a closer look at what goes on and keep things a little more secure, but it's really low to do something like that," Eder said.

The sheriff's office said Furgason was on probation and hasn't yet been charged with the new crimes.

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