Police: Oakland County thief dubbed 'funeral bandit' nabbed in Colorado

Police arrest man accused of breaking into SE Michigan homes while families away at funerals

Published On: Mar 25 2013 07:30:55 PM EDT   Updated On: Mar 25 2013 08:07:07 PM EDT
PONTIAC, Mich. -

Police believe they have caught the man accused of robbing homes at the absolute worst of times for the homeowners.

Authorities call the man in question, the funeral bandit. The suspect is accused of breaking into the homes of families who are attending funerals.

The Oakland County Sheriff's Department went to Todd Lloyd Griffin's Pontiac home last week to arrest him on a parole violation.

There was no sign of the 44-year-old, but it was clear he was up to no good.

"It basically looked like a pawn shop in somebody's house," said Oakland County Sheriff Michael J. Bouchard.

Inside the home police found jewelry, electronics and sentimental items all stolen from homes in Oakland, Macomb, Livingston, Shiawassee and Genesee counties.

The victims were all targeted while attending funerals after a death in the family, as well as estate sales that were advertised.

Jim Ratliff and Suzi Jones parents' home was broken into while they attended their loved one's funeral.

"It was awful, it was awful to think someone had been in your home," said Jones.

"My message is get a job, that is a much better life for you," said Ratliff. "Just go to work and be part of the American dream instead of the nightmare."

The Sheriff's Department contacted the family after finding some of their parent's stolen belongings in Griffin's stash.

Police caught up with Griffin at a pawn shop in Colorado, where he was trying to unload more jewelry.

"This guy violates people at their worst moment, when they have lost a loved one. So, I think it's poetic justice that he was arrested on his birthday. Happy birthday," said Bouchard.

Police advise anyone who has a death in the family and puts out announcements, to keep watch on their home to prevent becoming a target.

Griffin will now be brought back to Michigan to face a number of charges.