March 27, 2013 - Addison Twp. resident Joseph Marion most likely won't get all of his belongings back, but he's pleased to know the man who allegedly stole them is now in police custody.
Griffin (click for larger version)
"I hope he has a long time to think about what he did," he said.
Marion, 58, was a victim in Todd Lloyd Griffin's alleged string of burglaries.
The 44-year-old Pontiac man is suspected of at least 16 home invasions in Oakland and four other counties since June 2012. He was taken into custody without incident March 25 (his birthday) at a pawn shop in Colorado. Authorities indicated that at the time of his arrest, he was in possession of numerous pieces of jewelry.
Griffin was dubbed the "funeral bandit" because, according to the Oakland County Sheriff's Department, many of the homes he targeted belonged to folks who were attending funerals or visitations for deceased family members or were part of estate sales. He allegedly used the obituaries and advertisements in newspapers to pick targets that would be unoccupied.
"I can't think of a better birthday present to give this lowlife who had been violating families in their time of grieving,"
said Sheriff Mike Bouchard.
While executing a search warrant on Griffin's Pontiac home March 21, sheriff's investigators observed large quantities of jewelry, electronics and many personal items. Based on this evidence, investigators were able to tie the recovered property to multiple home invasions.
"Obviously, he's got no respect for anybody else's hard work or possessions," Marion said. "He's obviously a very selfish, self-centered person."
Back in late January, Marion and his wife attended a visitation for a deceased family member. When they returned to their Fox Knoll Dr. home, they were "pretty shocked" to discover someone had "busted the door down" and robbed them.
"We got home about midnight and the house was turned upside down," he said. "He'd been in there a long time. He pretty much took all the drawers out and emptied them. He was pretty thorough."
Griffin allegedly stole jewelry, collector's coins, home electronics, cameras and cash from Marion's home.
His wife's original wedding ring was among the stolen items. "It can't be replaced and I really don't think it's ever going to be found," Marion said.
One of the items connected Griffin to the Addison burglary because it had Marion's name right on it.
Mixed in with the jewelry Griffin had allegedly stolen were Marion's dog tags from his days in the U.S. Navy back in the early 1980s. "For some reason, (Griffin) didn't have the foresight to get rid of that," Marion said. "I'm sure he'd have been caught anyway, but that led (investigators) to me pretty quick."
The burglary hasn't changed Marion's mind about living in Addison. He's called the township home since the mid-1990s. "It's always been a real nice neighborhood," he said. "I think this was just a fluke. It's too bad, but it could have been a lot worse. There's people who have a lot worse things to worry about than some material possessions."
Marion was relieved the baby-sitter and his 6-month-old grandson didn't come to his house that day as was originally planned. "We invited them to dinner after the visitation," he said. "So, instead of coming to our house, they came to dinner with us and it's a good thing they did."
CJ Carnacchio is editor for The Oxford Leader. He lives in the Village of Oxford with his wife Connie and daughter Larissa. When he's not busy working on the newspaper, he enjoys cigars/pipes, Martinis/Scotch, hunting and fishing.