LOUISVILLE, Ky. – He’s accused of breaking into several homes while the people who lived there were attending funerals. A crime that took some planning and, police say, a lack of heart.
But, now, they’ve made an arrest. It took months of investigation, but police finally caught up with 32-year-old Michael Bennett. They say he was preying on grieving families and making a profit off their pain.
For months, officers have been hunting the funeral burglar, often with very little information to work with. “His MO and the reason why we call him the funeral burglar is, it appears he’s been using the obituaries within the newspaper to study and determine when people are leaving. Specifically, he appears to have focused on families that have lost direct loved ones,” explained Lt. Rob Davis of the 8th Division.
It was heartbreaking for the families and maddening for police. “It was extremely frustrating,” said Lt. Davis, “Your heart goes out to these families that are grieving for the loss of a loved one and then they’re hurt even worse by the fact that this guy has come in and taken their security and their feeling of safety and comfort within their own house.”
Detectives used tips from the community to build a profile of the suspect. “We’ve actually been reading the obits ourselves, trying to determine where people live and secretly sitting on the houses in hopes that he’ll sneak in there and we’ll catch him in the act,” Lt. Davis said. They figured their suspect was driving a white Ford pickup. Then, Thursday morning, an officer responding to a burglary alarm, saw the truck and stopped Michael Bennett. It was a stop police say could have easily turned deadly. “When he stopped him, the gentleman actually had a handgun placed well within reach on the passenger seat of his pickup truck,” Lt. Davis explained.
Since January, 19 homes have been burglarized during funerals. Police believe they can pin at least ten of those on Bennett, although the investigation is ongoing. Police want to remind people that if you do leave your home for a funeral, ask someone to stay at your home while you’re gone.