BURGLARS USED OBITS TO TARGET HOMES ACROSS EAST COUNTY AND SAN DIEGO

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East County News Service

June 13, 2015 (San Diego’s East County) – El Cajon Police has arrested three people charged with a dozen residential burglaries between January and May in El Cajon, Spring Valley and San Diego.  According to Lieutenant Frank La Haye with the El Cajon Police, the thieves targeted people attending funerals of their loved ones.

“During the investigation detectives were able to determine the suspects would read public obituaries online to obtain a decedent’s name, city of residency and the date and time of the funeral services,” said Lt. La Haye. The obituaries would oftentimes also list the same information of decedent’s family members as well. 

Armed with this information, the suspects would then conduct an internet search to learn the current addresses of family members.  On the date and time of the funeral, the suspects would burglarize either the residence of the deceased or their family members. They would gain entry into the homes through an open window or by forced entry.

Burglary Detectives from the El Cajon Police Department, San Diego Sheriff’s Department and the San Diego Police Department, shared information about similar burglaries occurring in their areas, all targeting family members attending funerals.  Detectives were able to identify three suspects; the last was arrested on the 10th of this month.

Detectives served search warrants on homes and storage lockers owned by the identified suspects.  Those search warrants resulted in the recovery of numerous stolen items connected to the burglary series. The estimated loss of items stolen in this case is approximately $100,000.00.  An internet history search of one of the suspects confirmed the criminal intentions of the group. 

The suspects arrested are Herbert John Cruz, 34, of San Diego, David Andrew Valenzuela, 34, of El Cajon, and Jennifer Lynn Alarcon, 33.

The El Cajon Police Department reminds people to be vigilant in locking their windows and doors, as well as being involved in a Neighborhood Watch programs in their area. 

This is an ongoing investigation with the possibility of additional criminal charges being filed. Anyone with information regarding this investigation may still contact the El Cajon Police Department at (619) 579-3311.