Shuswap family’s grief compounded by robbery

Mourners left their residence, returning in the afternoon with family and friends to discover much of their home had been ransacked.

Posting news of funerals or weddings can open the door to trouble.

Notch Hill resident Patty Fleming and her family attended her mother-in-law’s funeral March 31.

Details of the event had been included in Lois Fleming’s obituary, which was published that morning,

The mourners left their residence at about 9:30 a.m., returning in the afternoon with family and friends to discover much of their home had been ransacked.

Stolen were a big-screen TV, laptop computer, iPhone, camera and food from the freezer.

Other items were out on counters as if the thief or thieves had not finished.

While some of the material goods can be replaced, more than 1,000 cherished photos cannot.

“I am hoping someone has a conscience and can hand back the card from my camera,” says Fleming, pointing out she also has close to 700 pictures on her iPhone 3G. “They didn’t make it into our bedroom, it could have been worse.”

But Fleming’s 88-year-old mother is not so sure.

“That’s the really sad, sad thing, they got my mother’s jewelry and her mother’s too,” says Fleming. She says that while the jewelry may not all be expensive, the hurt to her mother’s heart is extreme.

Fleming says police told her they believe the thief or thieves probably read the obituary and took advantage of the fact the home would likely be vacant during the ceremony.

“It doesn’t take much; they look in the paper, then get the address,” she said. “I guess it’s easier for them than I thought. And they knew they’d have a long enough time to do what they wanted.”

Fleming, who says she has always felt safe, despite the remote location of her home, is rethinking her belief somewhat. But she’s looking for some good to come out of this. She recalls losing her wallet and spread the word that she didn’t care about the cash but wanted her ID. Some days later, the wallet and her ID showed up at the post office.

And Fleming is hopeful she will get back her iPhone – or an email containing the photos and the card from her camera.

In the meantime, the Flemings will keep an eye on area pawnshops.

And she adds a caution to others who are celebrating a family wedding or loss, pointing to Seattle where six such robberies recently took place and have been dubbed “obit robberies.”