Friday, June 20, 2008

Obituary writers: Accomplices in Crime???

In the previous Obituary Forum post - "Obituarists Abet Second-Story Man!" - Steve Miller shared a story from The Republican about a Massachusetts man who admitted robbing several families while they were attending the funerals of loved ones.

Pam Vetter, a certified funeral celebrant who pens obit-related articles and obituaries for her clients for Los Angeles-area publications, sent along a story about a similar case. This one happened in Missouri.

In her June 9, 2008, American Chronicle piece, Funeral Day Burglar Convicted: Thieving from Those Who are Grieving and Its Effect on Paid Death Notices and Obituaries, Pam suggests that publicity surrounding such cases might make families reluctant to share information about the dearly departed for reporter-written or paid obits.

1 comment:

The Funeral Lady said...

I've heard it from family members time and time again - "I was advised by the funeral home not to take out a paid death notice because of home robberies during funeral services." The families appreciate this advice. But, I'm concerned about the bigger picture. For unexpected passings - especially suicide - a death often doesn't seem real and the grief isn't dealt with until it's officially in the newspaper. "Maybe it didn't happen. I don't believe it." Once it's in print, people are no longer in a holding pattern and can start dealing with the loss. Even if the funeral details aren't listed in an obituary, thieves could call around to funeral homes and ask about a public service until they find it. For families who are worried about a paid death notice, it's possible to file the information after the funeral. Obituary writers have no choice but to offer the funeral details if it's public information. House sitters are still the best idea!