Sheriff: Burglaries targeted visitors, deceased

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FLORENCE, Ariz. (AP) -- The Pinal County Sheriff's Office said Friday that it has arrested seven people in connection with dozens of burglaries that targeted Arizona City-area homes of seasonal visitors and people listed in obituaries.

The arrests followed several months of investigation, and the case broke open last month when several people arrived at a home under surveillance, the Sheriff's Office says

A man had died at the home and his vehicle was missing when deputies made a welfare check on Nov. 13, the office said.

The Sheriff's Office then staked out the residence after detectives learned Nov. 14 that two people planned to return to the residence to take other items, including two vehicles.

After vehicles were seen arriving at the residence on Nov. 18, one of the seven people arrested in the case - all from the Casa Grande and Arizona City areas - was taken into custody, the office said.

Further investigation led to the additional arrests, the office said.

"By preying on the homes of our winter visitors and the recently deceased, this group of individuals thought they could burglarize what they saw as easy targets," Sheriff Paul Babeu said.

Arizona City is about 10 miles south of Casa Grande.

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