‘Obit bandit’ arrested and charged in Barnstable

BARNSTABLE, Mass. (WHDH) – Police in Barnstable arrested the “Obit bandit,” a Plymouth man accused of breaking into several homes on Cape Cod while the homeowners were attending wakes or funeral services.

Police said Randy Brunelle, 35, would find publicly posted information about funerals and wakes, call the home during the listed time of the event and then break in if nobody was home.

Police said they were alerted about a break-in in Cotuit on Friday night and they were able to locate Brunelle’s car nearby. Police pulled him over and arrested him after they said they noticed his sweatshirt pockets were stuffed with jewelry.

Police said they returned the jewelry to the homeowner, who positively identified it all as her own. That homeowner was at her mother’s wake when Brunelle allegedly broke into her home. Another home targeted was in Osterville, where Brunelle allegedly stole jewelry as a widow attended her husband’s funeral.

Brunelle was arraigned Monday on six felony breaking and entering and larceny charges. He had previously been convicted in 2012 and served an 18-month sentence for breaking into a police officer’s home in Sandwich as that officer attended his mother’s funeral. He is also accused of several similar break-ins in Plymouth.

Brunelle’s attorney Diane Mulligan said he has a heroin problem, which led him into a “downward spiral.” He is being held on $25,000 bail.

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