Husband's home burglarized during funeral for wife of 59 years

Posted at 4:40 PM, Jun 22, 2017
and last updated 2017-06-22 16:40:22-04

HYDE PARK, VT (WCAX/CNN) -  A Vermont man came home from his wife's funeral to find it burglarized. Investigators say it was a targeted crime.

"My wife is Elaine Fortune. Lainey,” said Carl Fortune, who had his home burglarized. Carl Fortune is mourning the loss of his love. "She and I were married 59 years,” he said.

After the end of a 25-year battle with breast cancer, plans were made to lay her to rest last Saturday afternoon. Fortune was at a Congregational Church attending funeral services for his wife on what was no doubt one of the most difficult days of his life. But as he got home, he realized that the day would get even worse.

"I came home from the funeral to change my clothes, and I noticed the door was open. And then I noticed it was off its hinges and broken in," he said.

Investigators say it was a targeted home burglary along Hyde Park's busy Route 15, happening during a two-hour period in broad daylight. "I wasn't happy to begin with and that made it worse,” he said.

Fortune says the thief targeted "quick grab" items of monetary and personal value. “They didn't go through the whole house. Just the bedroom,” Fortune said.

"It's a very despicable thing to do to someone; kick them while they're down,” said Detective Sgt. Jonathan Ross of the Lamoille County Sheriff's Department.

The 82-year-old is a longtime educator, and well known in the local area. He's still trying to wrap his mind around what happened.

Does he think someone saw that the funeral was happening and targeted the house?  "They knew. They knew that we'd be gone," he said.

And that's why Carl Fortune and his family say they want to speak out, hoping that others hear his story so it doesn't happen to someone else.

"In this day of drugs, and things such as that, it's very hard to read what people have in their mind," Fortune said. 

Detectives say an obituary post, like the one published for Fortune's wife, can be open invitation as often nobody is home. "Lock your doors. And if you have anything of value, just know where it's at, what it is, and put it away,” Ross said.

Police said they're looking into some leads, but have not identified any suspects yet.

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