I believe we can all agree that the practice of targeting homes for burglary during a funeral is clearly vile, but stories of this happening continue to appear in the news. The most recent comes to us from Fort Worth, Texas, and it appears from the report that picking this particular home was no accident. Based on the lengthy sentence, this judge was evidently not in a forgiving mood.
A Fort Worth teenager who pleaded guilty to burglarizing the home of a family while they attended the funeral of their son was sentenced Wednesday to 18 years in prison, despite his pleas that he be allowed to go through treatment for his drug addictions. Criminal District Judge Robb Catalano handed down one year for every year of defendant Gilbert Rodriguez Jr.’s life — more than the 15 years that prosecutors had sought in the case. “You’re asking for a fourth or fifth chance,” Catalano said. “You’re an adult. You took adult actions, and there are adult consequences.”
Background Information on the Crime…
Rodriguez, now 18, was arrested with two other youths in the 2010 burglary of the home of 16-year-old Trimble Tech High School student Eric Trevino, a baseball player who had been killed a few days earlier in a car wreck. Trevino’s parents, Laura and Jaime Favela, were at his funeral when the home was burglarized. Among items taken were a roll of cash with Trevino’s picture on it that had been earmarked to help pay funeral expenses, Trevino’s sports trophies and electronics from his room, prosecutors said. “They stole this family’s memories of their dead son,” Deputy Chief District Attorney Jack Strickland said. “This family will never be able to go to the cemetery or think about their son, without also thinking about the intrusion into their home.”
And on the Criminal
Assistant District Attorney Robert Huseman said Rodriguez had a long history of criminal problems as a juvenile, including 14 arrests, and had spent time incarcerated with the Texas Youth Commission. He’d been identified by Fort Worth police as a gang member — though he denied he was a gang member — and had been through drug treatment several times. He knew that the family was at the funeral when he and his friends kicked in the back door of the home, Huseman said. “He wants to blame his actions on drugs,” Huseman said. “This is a community that is tired of having their houses and their cars broken into.
Cause and Effect
Trevino’s family did not attend the hearing. Huseman said they are still mourning the loss of their son. “They just wanted justice,” he said. “I think they got that today.” Rodriguez must serve at least six years in prison before he is eligible for parole, prosecutors said.
What You Can Do
Scheduling a housesitter during a funeral 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 such a system you are three times better off than your unprotected neighbor. FrontPoint is on the case with systems that are safer, smarter, simpler, and more affordable. As the leader in wireless home security and the #1 rated alarm company in the US, FrontPoint takes residential intrusion very seriously, no matter when it happens. And so should you.