Walworth Co. authorities warn of obituary thieves

WALWORTH CO. (WITI) -- The Walworth County Sheriff's Department is reminding  residents to protect their assets and property, especially when a loved one passes away.

Officials say a statewide crime alert was recently sent out indicating an increase in burglaries by thieves who target the homes of those listed in obituaries. The obituaries include the date, time and location of services -- which allows criminals to know which homes will be empty during those times. The thieves may knock on the door first, pretending to ask for directions, or call the home repeatedly first to ensure it is empty.

This type of crime has been reported in Chippewa, Dunn, Portage, Trempealeau, Fond du Lac, Wood and Shawano Counties.

Officials say to avoid from becoming a victim of this type of crime, place someone in your home while the funeral or visitation is underway.