Two arrested, accused of stealing from dead people’s homes in Hancock County

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HANCOCK COUNTY, Ind. – Two people accused of stealing from homes of the deceased are in jail.

Christopher Ward and Shalagene Sparks both face burglary charges.  Ward is also facing resisting law enforcement and animal cruelty charges.

“This is just a whole new different thing that I’ve never seen before,” says Captain Jeff Rasche, with the Hancock County Sheriff’s Department.

When questioned, Ward told investigators Sparks would research which homes were foreclosed or tied up in an estate.

“Typically there’s not going to be anyone there no matter what time in the day or night so I feel like they felt pretty comfortable going out doing what they were doing,” explains Captain Rasche.

On Wednesday, detectives believe Ward and Sparks burglarized two homes.  The former owner of the first home died earlier this year.

Later that afternoon, a person called 911 reporting a suspicious truck with a ‘Thank you, Jesus’ bumper sticker at the home of a deceased relative.  When police showed up they saw a stack of items

“Just kind of old useless stuff that was really left behind from the estate once they cleaned the house out.  The things they didn’t feel like was really of any value but they weren’t going to throw it away because it had been in the family for a long time,” explains Captain Rasche.

Ward admitted to officers that he was stealing to support his heroin addiction.  Investigators believe Ward and Sparks’ stealing strategy had been going on for a while.

“There’s no doubt in my mind, I feel certain that one or both of them have been involved in a number of cases in central Indiana,” explains Captain Rasche.

Ward tried to run from police and officers sent their K-9 after him Ward allegedly punched the dog.  According to court papers, Ward later told investigators he was sorry for fighting them.