By Kristina Rex

MILFORD (CBS) – Police in Milford say someone is browsing obituaries and breaking into people’s homes while they are at loved ones’ wakes and funerals.

“To me, it looks like someone is very desperate,” said Deputy Chief James Falvey. “It’s a pretty serious crime, pretty low to break in while someone’s out mourning a loved one.”

Milford Police say two break-ins have happened during services in the last week. The thieves stole small valuables. Similar break-ins, they say, have happened in Holliston as well.

One of the homes burglarized was that of Gloria Cotas. Her mother, Conceicao T. De Macedo, passed away on April 21.

Conceicao T. De Macedo (Family Photo)

While the family was at her wake on Wednesday, April 24, someone broke into their home and stole all their gold jewelry.

“Nobody has respect… nobody values a life,” said longtime funeral director Joseph Edwards. His family has owned the Edwards Memorial Funeral Home for more than 100 years.

Another break-in happened to one of his clients. He says while a family was at a loved one’s funeral on Tuesday morning, their house was burglarized. “They were devastated,” he said. “They felt violated, as well they should.”

Multiple funeral directors told WBZ that there was a rash of similar crimes in the 1980s. To fight it, addresses were removed from obituaries. Now, they believe criminals are getting smarter. “Sadly, I’m not overly surprised it happened,” said Joseph Edwards. “[But I’m] disappointed it happened.”

Milford Police are taking a proactive approach to stop the crimes. They ask anyone scheduling a wake or funeral to call them with the information, and they will patrol the neighborhood during the services.

Kristina Rex