SANDY — A Sandy family is looking for answers after they say a woman used their daughter's funeral as an opportunity to steal from them.
Jay Sindorf said a woman dressed in black came to his home minutes after family members left for his daughter's viewing Wednesday night, pounding on the door and asking to use the bathroom. She claimed to be a friend of his deceased daughter, Robin, and didn't offer a name, he said.
Sindorf said he had felt too weak to attend the viewing. He allowed the woman to enter, believing she planned to use the bathroom and leave.
The woman spent a considerable amount of time in the bathroom, then sat nervously on the couch and began asking if the rest of the family was at the viewing, Sindorf said. She eventually left, explaining that she had just come from work.
When the family returned, Sindorf said they discovered two checkbooks missing from a purse that had been left sitting on the couch.
The family believes the woman used information from their daughter's obituary to plan the theft.
Jay Sindorf's wife, Donna, said she received a phone call Tuesday afternoon from a man who said he regularly reads obituaries and contacts the families to offer condolences. She said she believes the man was confirming the location of the house with the intent of robbing it.
Sandy Police Sgt. Jon Arnold said the department isn't aware of other incidents in the city of burglars using obituaries to target grieving families, but he has heard of similar cases in other areas.
"Unfortunately, there are people out there who try to take advantage of people who are going through emotional times," Arnold said. "If you don't recognize somebody, if you're having a family gathering in preparation for a funeral or a service … find out who they are. There's nothing wrong with that."
Jay Sindorf described the woman as thin and tan with dark hair, light brown eyes and a pointy nose, adding she acted nervous but wouldn't break eye contact.
"I went over and over this in my mind," he said, "and it's almost like I can't believe it."
Also Thursday, a car was also broken into during the graveside service, Donna Sindorf said, and two purses were taken off the seat of the vehicle.
Arnold said the alleged theft at the cemetery had not been reported. He urged anyone who may have experienced a car break-in to contact police.