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Suspect Used Obituaries to Rob Homes of Funeral Attendees

An ex-Wisconsin deputy has been accused of combing through the obituaries in an alleged attempt to locate homes she reportedly intended to burglarize while the residents were attending funerals for their loved ones.

29-year-old Janelle Gericke worked as a deputy for the Jefferson County Sheriff’s office for a period of 15-months beginning in February 2016 before she was reportedly fired from her position.

In 2018, between February and June, at least seven residences were allegedly chosen by Gericke with the intention of burglarizing them during times she believed that the inhabitants would not be home.

In most of the instances, Gericke allegedly searched through the current obituaries and pinpointed homes of bereaved people that she assumed would be attending services while she stole from them.

In some cases, Gericke reportedly got caught by the residents while she was still inside their homes and she allegedly issued reasons such as having been hired to clean and being at the wrong address to retrieve online purchases in the area.

When a sheriff’s office worker spread around the news that she would be away from home for a few days in April, the woman’s home security surveillance equipment recorded someone she believed had the appearance of Gericke in the act of trying to enter the home.

With the information collected from the reported burglaries of the residences that were allegedly targeted in the scheme, in addition to the video surveillance from Gericke’s coworker, the authorities decided to look into Gericke’s recent activities to find out if she was a possible suspect for the crimes.

When it was noticed that most of the alleged victims had been attending funeral services when the homes were disturbed by the suspect, the authorities planned a stakeout for some residences of people they thought might be away from home for service.

It was discovered that Gericke allegedly drives a gray Chevy Cobalt, and while watching the homes, the authorities reported that they saw a woman driving a car matching the description of the one Gericke drives as she went up to more than one house in a purported effort to gain access to the inside without consent.

The Wisconsin Division of Criminal Investigations took over the investigation, and Gericke was fired from her position as deputy.

At this time, Gericke is scheduled to appear in court for a burglary charge on December 30.

If you or someone you love is suspected of a theft crime, contact Orange County criminal defense lawyer Staycie R. Sena at (949) 477-8088 for a consultation now.

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