Auburndale Police are tracking down one or more thieves who broke into cars and stole purses during the funeral of a man murdered after a woman he met on a dating website led thieves to his apartment.
- Cars burglarized, purses stolen during man's funeral
- Adam Hilarie was shot and killed in an apparent robbery set-up
- Church hasn't had issue with burglaries in the past
The car burglaries happened between 3 p.m. and 4 p.m. Saturday at Legacy Community Church, during the funeral of Adam Hilarie.
Hilarie, of Auburndale, was shot and killed during a robbery in his home, on Aug. 19, according to police.
Last month, police said Hilarie connected with 18-year-old Hailey Bustos on dating website "Plenty of Fish." The two went out for a date, and that date included a visit to Hilarie's apartment. Police said that Bustos noticed items worth stealing in the apartment. Police said after the date Bustos met with three men to set up a robbery of Hilarie, which resulted in the fatal shooting.
The car burglaries happened between 3 p.m. and 4 p.m. Saturday at Legacy Community Church, during the funeral of Adam Hilarie, 27, seen here with his daughter, Lajaya Hilarie.
Detectives confirmed nine purses were reported stolen. Jennifer Majars was one of the victims.
"My son's birthday was yesterday. And all of our money is gone. Bill money. My kid’s birthday money was gone," said Majars, a friend of Adam’s family.
Deputy Chief Andy Ray called the burglaries “aggravating” and said “it added insult to injury.”
The victims were able to use an app to track one of the stolen phones to E. Carroll Street, in Auburndale, about seven miles away from the church. There, most, if not all of the purses were recovered, said Ray. The purses were dumped there but the contents were missing, according to Majars.
"I got back my empty purse and my empty wallet. It was heartbreaking to watch his mom and his brothers and everybody walk out to this. With all of the vehicles broken into," Majars said.
Legacy's Pastor, Terry Brown, said Hilarie’s family was borrowing the church for the service. Brown helped out and said he never would’ve thought this would’ve happened.
"There were two police cars parked in the parking lot. Of course the officers were here in the church for the service,” said Brown. “They were bold to see the [police] cars and break into the cars. “
Brown said his church doesn’t have surveillance cameras, but now it’s strongly considering getting some after this. The church hasn’t had an issue with burglaries in the past.
Meanwhile, Deputy Chief Ray said detectives will follow up with the debit and credit card companies, looking for any activity on the stolen cards. He hopes that will help them identify suspects.