Police arrested a man who they say broke into a Long Island home, stole items and cash, and wrote a $10,000 fraudulent check while the family was out mourning their wife and mother during her funeral.
Police say Jonathan Hoffman, 45, broke into the Woodmere Boulevard home in Woodmere through a window on March 6 around 11 a.m. The owner of the home, Carol Linda Pines, died of cancer days earlier and only her housekeeper was home at the time, according to her daughter Erika Pines-Antin.
Harvey Richmond, Pines' husband, said the family knew Hoffman for years and now feels betrayed by the man who targeted them on the worst day of their lives.
"A real low-life, despicable. Really despicable," said Richmond, still angry seven months later. "What he did was beyond words. He really violated us."
Pines-Antin said Hoffman tricked the housekeeper by posing as her step-brother, who was arriving from Canada for the funeral. Once inside, he allegedly stole cash, jewelry, a cellphone, a passport and checkbooks. He also wrote a fraudulent check for $10,000 in his wife's name and tried to deposit it in his wife's account, according to Pines-Antin and police. Pines-Antin said the jewelry included a sentimental ring she gave her mother, and that Hoffman also stole a bottle of morphine.
"He figured in his warped mind that everyone would be going to the funeral, and he was exactly correct," said Richmond. "His wife went to the funeral."
Pines worked as a school teacher at PS 113 in Glendale, Queens, her daughter said. She was a resident of Woodmere for over 45 years.
Hoffman was charged with burglary, grand larceny and possession of a forged check, and was to be arraigned in Hempstead on Monday. It wasn't immediately clear if he had an attorney.