A Michigan man accused of burglarizing homes while the owners were at funerals, frequently stealing personal effects with no cash value, has been arrested, police said.
Todd Lloyd Griffin, 44, was taken into custody Monday at a pawn shop in Colorado.
Monday also happened to be Griffin's birthday.
"I can't think of a better birthday present to give this lowlife who had been violating families in their time of grieving," said Michael Bouchard, the Michigan sheriff whose office discovered Griffin's crimes by chance.
Deputies were trying to serve Griffin a warrant at his home in Pontiac, Mich., for a probation violation on a previous larceny, but he wasn't there. The deputies did notice, however, that his home was
"The place looked like a pawn shop," Bouchard said.
Police say that Griffin targeted his victims, using newspapers to identify where funerals and real estate sales were happening.
"My understanding is that in several incidents, the (homeowners) had gone to funerals and (Griffin) would hit them while they weren't home," said Maj. Robert Smith, who was involved in the investigation.
Police seized enough items to fill a room at their headquarters in Oakland County, Mich. The items, stolen from 16 homes in the state, were estimated to be worth about $50,000 — but there also were items that would be of no value except to their owners.
Baby photos, notes from family members and crafts made by children were also among the stolen goods. The sheriff referred to Griffin as a "heartless individual" and repeatedly called him a "funeral bandit."
"He wasn't stealing property — he was stealing their heart," Bouchard said. "That's the worst part."
It appears Griffin acted alone in the burglaries, said police.