By MICHAEL KONOPASEK
BELLEVUE, Wash -- A family in Bellevue is not only grieving the loss of their mother, they are also busy working with police trying to find who burglarized their home. The family became victims as they attended a memorial service for their mom who recently lost her battle with cancer.
Family members believe they were targeted after their mother's obituary was published in a local newspaper and online-- providing the date and time of her memorial service. To a heartless burglar, the obituary may have served as notice of an opportunity to break into an empty home.
"It's really difficult," said Michael Bell, son of the late Joyce Bell. "This is a day or remembrance and celebration for my mother. To come home to this experience, is unconscionable."
Joyce Bell died in late June at the age of 91. She was active in her church and community. Joyce and her husband, Clyde, enjoyed 60 years of marriage.
"She was just a loving soul," said Michael. "When you walked in the door, it didn't matter how recently you were here, she'd give you the biggest bear hug [as] if she hadn't seen you in 20 years."
While the family was gathered at church Saturday afternoon, someone was busy in the Bell family's Bellevue home. The burglar or group of burglars stole Joyce's jewelry and electronics. When the family returned, they found the home ransacked. Neighbors didn't see anything suspicious because they too were at the memorial service, accordingly no to the Bell family. As of late Saturday, police did not have any leads.
"This is a very sleepy neighborhood," said Michael. "My parents have been here for 40 years. Nothing like this has ever happened."
The family must now account for what remains and what's missing as they deal with insurance claims and a police report.
As a precaution, family members say they contacted Bellevue Police before the memorial service to request extra patrols. The family tells Q13 News police were vigilant, but the extra presence still wasn't enough to prevent the burglary. The Bell family hopes their experience serves as a warning that sharing too much information on social media or in an obituary could attract crime.