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Sheboygan obituary thief challenges evidence seized without warrant

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SHEBOYGAN, WI (WTAQ) - A Sheboygan Falls man accused of burglarizing the homes of dead people he read about on the obituary page is appealing the case.

The attorney for 62-year-old Dennis Petrie said police illegally seized numerous items from his home without having a warrant.

Circuit Judge Timothy Van Akkeren said the police didn’t need a warrant, because his wife allowed officers to find evidence in his home – and they did not coerce her in the process.

On Thursday, Petrie pleaded no contest to the first four charges against him – but 38 others are still pending.

They’re all connected with thefts of about 60 guns and other items stolen from numerous homes over a number of years, after Petrie allegedly used newspaper obituaries to identify the victims. He’s scheduled to be sentenced on the four charges January 18th, and he remains free on a signature bond for now.

Police said the stolen items came from estate sales, or while relatives were attending funerals.

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