Police warn thieves could target victims during funerals

HOUSTON, Texas (KTRK) -- Two women are accused of targeting families at a time when they're most vulnerable -- during a funeral.

In at least one recent case, a homeowner who had recently passed away was the victim of a home break-in and car theft. The Memorial Villages Police Department recovered her car, thanks to their automated license plate readers.

The ALPRs capture the images of plates on vehicles at various points in the city. If the plate comes back indicating the vehicle is stolen, police officers and dispatch are alerted.

Inside of the car they found stolen mail, jewelry, bolt cutters and other items.

"We found out these two suspects were involved in stealing a vehicle from a deceased person during the day of the funeral," said Detective Christopher Rodriguez.

Officers also found a ledger inside the vehicle.

"That ledger of people who have recently passed away with names and addresses, and that's what allowed our detectives to take that list and find out these criminals were not just driving around in a stolen car, they were most likely committing other burglaries," said Chief Ray Schultz.

Sage Grider, 25, is charged with stealing the vehicle. Police say 27-year-old Adrianne Hart was also in the vehicle.

Grider and Hart face a mail theft charge.

"In the middle of an event like this, something that's very personal, a funeral, to have someone go in and attack that family unit, and victimize someone who has recently passed away is very, very concerning," said Schultz.

With so much information online, police say it can be easy for criminals to find out when funerals are and know when you're not home. Schultz has some advice.

"If you have a family event or a funeral, it's almost to the point where you're going to have to have a designated family member stay and watch the house," said Schultz.

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