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Florida burglar ‘targeted homes of dead and funeral attendees’


‘Lower than low’ Florida burglar ‘scoured obituaries then targeted homes of dead people and grieving relatives while they were at funerals in spate of 10 home break-ins’

  • Ronald Rose, a 42-year-old Lake Wales resident, allegedly embarked on a spree of 10 home break-ins between October 1 and February 8 
  • The breaks-ins occurred across Auburndale, Mulberry, Lakeland and Haines City
  • Polk County officials said Rose broke into the homes while the victims were at funerals and made off with items including jewelry and firearms
  • Polk County Sheriff Grady Judd slammed the suspect as ‘lower than low’ for targeting people in their grief
  • Investigators believe he could also be behind other similar crimes as some of the stolen goods retrieved do not match items taken in the 10 burglaries
  • Rose was arrested Monday and slapped with 27 charges including multiple counts of armed burglary and grand theft

A Florida burglar has been accused of scouring obituaries then targeting the homes of dead people and their grieving relatives while they were away at funerals.

Ronald Rose, a 42-year-old Lake Wales resident, allegedly embarked on a spree of 10 home break-ins between October 1 and February 8 across the areas of Auburndale, Mulberry, Lakeland and Haines City.

Polk County officials said Rose, who has a long rap sheet of felony and misdemeanor charges, broke into his victims’ homes while they were at funerals and made off with items including jewelry and firearms.

Polk County Sheriff Grady Judd slammed the suspect as ‘lower than low’ for targeting people in the throes of grief and said investigators believe he may also be behind other similar crimes.

Rose was arrested Monday and slapped with 27 charges including multiple counts of armed burglary and grand theft.    

A Florida burglar has been accused of scouring obituaries then targeting the homes of dead people and their grieving relatives while they were at funerals. Pictured Ronald Rose in mug

The net closed in on the suspect when a detective investigating one of the burglaries found at least nine other burglaries going back four months that also occurred while the victims were away at a funeral which had been publicly promoted in obituaries, authorities said.

Investigators then unearthed other similarities between the break-ins including that they were carried out in the daytime and that the perpetrator mainly stole jewelry, watches, silver, coins, and firearms.

Rose was arrested on February 15 and allegedly confessed to carrying out one of the burglaries in Auburndale.

A search of the car used in that break-in – a 2020 Kia Optima rental – led to the discovery of ‘property of evidentiary value’, Polk County Sheriff’s Department said. 

Rose’s home on Carver Street in Lake Wales was then searched and stolen property was found linking him to all 10 burglaries. 

A gray Caddillac CTS registered to Rose also matched the description of a vehicle seen by witnesses at the scene of some burglaries.

Authorities believe Rose searched obituaries to find homes that would be left empty during funerals and then targeted them at the very moment bereaved families bid goodbye to their loved ones. 

Ronald Rose, a 42-year-old Lake Wales resident, allegedly embarked on a spree of 10 home break-ins between October 1 and February 8

Ronald Rose, a 42-year-old Lake Wales resident, allegedly embarked on a spree of 10 home break-ins between October 1 and February 8

Polk County officials said Rose, who has a long rap sheet of felony and misdemeanor charges, broke into his victims' homes while they were at funerals and made off with items including jewelry and firearms. Burglaries took place across the areas of Auburndale, Mulberry, Lakeland and Haines City (in map)

Polk County officials said Rose, who has a long rap sheet of felony and misdemeanor charges, broke into his victims’ homes while they were at funerals and made off with items including jewelry and firearms. Burglaries took place across the areas of Auburndale, Mulberry, Lakeland and Haines City (in map)

Rose is also thought to have other victims not yet identified because some of the stolen goods found do not match the items taken in the 10 burglaries, the Sheriff’s Department said.

The Department is now working with other law enforcement agencies across the state to find other potential victims. 

Sheriff Judd said targeting people in their moment of grief shows ‘no compassion or consideration’ on the suspect’s part.

‘People who burglarize or steal are low, so victimizing people during a time when they are grieving the loss of a loved one… that’s lower than low,’ he said in a statement.

‘Someone who is willing to take advantage of people at a time like this has no compassion or consideration, and is a true menace to society.’

Rose was charged with two counts of armed burglary, eight counts of burglary of an unoccupied dwelling, one count of grand theft between $20,000 and $100,000, eight counts of grand theft from a dwelling, seven counts of grand theft of a firearm and one misdemeanor charge of petit theft.

He is being held in Polk County Jail with no bond.

Rose already has six felony charges and fifteen misdemeanor charges on his criminal record including arrests for burglaries, battery, thefts and drug possessions.

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