The trends in residential crime are going the wrong way: burglaries are up in many areas, the intruders are often younger, drug use is frequently involved, and there is an overall sense that we all have to do more to protect our homes and families. But this recent news story from Connecticut is one of the more bizarre – and disturbing – that I have seen in a while.
They had been casually chatting about a home burglary in Branford last week that was committed while a woman buried her husband, having seen the story in the news. But family members gathered for Frank Baldo’s funeral Saturday morning had no idea that the same thing would happen at the 79-year-old man’s home, possibly even as they were speaking.
To be honest, even after my twenty years in the alarm industry, this was a new twist for me. Sure, there’s the old story about the “nice” person who gives theater tickets to a couple, then turns out to be a burglar and rips off their house while they are attending the “free” performance. But during a funeral? Apparently it’s not that unusual.
Relatives of Frank Baldo discovered after returning from services that the former state marshal’s Chidsey Drive house was ransacked, and after two such incidents in a week, police are recommending people use housesitters during funerals. “It couldn’t be at a worse time,” Anita Baldo, Frank Baldo’s daughter, said of the burglary.
How Criminals Think
Anita Baldo and police believe the suspect saw the funeral time in a newspaper obituary and assumed correctly that Frank Baldo’s home would be empty during the Mass. TVs, computers, an X-box, video games and jewelry were taken in the burglary, which happened some time between 9 a.m., when the funeral Mass was held and 2:30 p.m., when the crime was reported to police, authorities said.
Classic – the intruder struck during the day (when most burglaries happen), and the list of stolen items matches what I’ve posted on before.
What You Can Do
Because of the nature of the crime and what was taken, police believe the same person who committed the burglary at Frank Baldo’s home also broke into the home of Branford Firefighter Tony Witkowski when he was buried last Tuesday. Though the crime is common, North Branford hasn’t dealt with such a situation “in a while,” North Branford Detective Ronald Onofrio said. Still, people call police to notify them that they will be attending a family member’s funeral, asking if officers can drive through the neighborhood as a precaution, he said. For those planning funerals, Onofrio recommends asking someone to house-sit or to at least see if neighbors can call police if they notice anything suspicious. “It’s definitely something to watch out for,” Onofrio said.
Scheduling a housesitter makes sense – as does asking neighbors to keep an eye on the house. You would think that if any time would be safe to leave a home unoccupied, it would be during a funeral – but clearly someone who is committed to separating you from your belongings really does not care about why the house is empty. The best protection, as we know, is a monitored alarm system, and statistics show that with that system you are three times better off than your unprotected neighbor. FrontPoint is on the case with wireless systems that are safer, smarter, simpler, more affordable – and virtually impossible to defeat. As the #1 rated home alarm company in the US, FrontPoint takes residential intrusion very seriously, no matter when it happens. And so should you.