‘Obit bandit’ waited until widows left for husbands’ funerals. Then he struck, c…

For months, police had been investigating a string of break-ins in Massachusetts.

The break-ins had something in common: The homes getting broken into belonged to people who were at funerals or wakes during the alleged crimes, according to police.

That led police to suspect the crimes had a culprit in common, too: Randy J. Brunelle, 35, of Plymouth, Mass. Brunelle was convicted of breaking into the home of a police officer’s mother in 2012 while the officer attended the mother’s funeral, police said. Brunelle spent 18 months in prison for the crime.

So on Friday, as Brunelle was spotted driving from Plymouth to Cape Cod, authorities who had been investigating the break-ins tried to catch him in the act.

Some detectives followed Brunelle’s gray Honda Civic as he drove. Other detectives went to homes in Barnstable, Mass., where residents may have gone at funeral services, police said. Then they waited to see what Brunelle would do.

Sure enough, police said, a break-in was reported in Cotuit, Mass. — and when detectives pulled Brunelle over as he headed back to his home in Plymouth, they found jewelry stuffed in his sweatshirt pockets, police wrote on Facebook.

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