In court on Monday, the so-called “obit bandit” was convicted for robbing New York families while they were gone for funerals.
For targeting half a dozen bereaved families, Latonia Stewart of the Bronx was sentenced to 11 years in state jail. The 30-year-old was found guilty of six counts of burglary and criminal possession of stolen items by a jury.
Stewart, 30, was arrested in 2018 for allegedly checking obituaries to determine when mourning families would be visiting funerals and then looting their houses while they were gone.
Prosecutors delivered testimonies from a number of Stewart’s victims during her sentencing.
Michaelle Calvi, a Westchester prosecutor, read aloud, “She didn’t steal tangible things, she took memories.”
Between December 2017 and May 2018, Stewart hit residences in Cortlandt, Greenburgh, Ossining, Rye Brook, Scarsdale, and Tarrytown. Robberies targeting persons designated as next of kin in freshly published obituaries had been observed by police. All of the obituaries provided funeral details.
Calvi read, “She removed the majority of the presents that my husband had given me during our marriage, on every birthday, anniversary, and Valentine’s Day.”
Stewart’s allegations could have resulted in a sentence of up to 90 years in prison, but her counsel pleaded the judge for mercy since she had two children who will need her “for better or worse.”
Stewart was sentenced to up to 11 years in jail by the court, who claimed he had never showed any remorse. “Cruel and cruel,” he said of her behavior. Stewart was stone-faced for the most of the sentencing, and he didn’t react much when the punishment was handed down.
Stewart was apprehended by Greenburgh police while driving away from a property on May 1, 2018. She had jeweler from a deceased individual and an obituary page on her cellphone, according to police.
Officers discovered other stolen items in her car and Bronx home, as well as a sledge hammer, she used to shatter windows and glass doors to gain entrance to the residences. Prosecutors claim she stole six families, stealing anything of worth — including “wedding bands, engagement rings, family antiques that would have been passed down” — as well as items with little monetary value, such as love poetry.
Stewart is scheduled to appear in court again soon, this time in Connecticut, where she is accused of targeting two other Greenwich families in the same way.
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