MELBOURNE, Fla. - Photos, jewelry, and priceless mementos of family life stolen, and police say one man was behind the burglary spree that took them away.
The crook went as far as taking one woman's late husbands ashes and throwing them all over her bed. Now, residents in the Hollywood Estates neighborhood say they are moving out.
"He destroyed our dream. This is something we've been planning on doing for years," said Mary Grubb, a victim of the West Melbourne burglaries. She and her husband, Jack, were just a few months away from moving into their new vacation home. Their house was just one of the six West Melbourne homes broken into in the last month.
Police said 44-year-old David Holland was breaking into homes in the Hollywood Estates subdivision, taking anything he could get his hands on. Holland even spilled the ashes of Lura Glave's husband in the process.
"I guess he thought I had valuables in it, but I was preparing to put him in the national cemetery," said Glave.
Police said Holland would break-in by either shattering a back window or by prying open a sliding glass door. Investigators were able to track him down after hearing reports that he was selling goods to local pawn shops, but because of Florida law, the victims have to buy back their stolen items.
Glave said, "They violated a lot of elderly people that live there and they were on a budget. They can't afford to go out and replace these things."
Police were able to recover most of the stolen property, but for the Grubb family, this string of burglaries took more than just their valuables, it took their trust.
"We always felt comfortable here, but of course times change and you just have to be more observant and more careful. You have to watch out for your neighbor and watch out for yourself," said Grubb.
As for Holland, he is now being held in the Brevard County jail on a no-bond status and folks in the Hollywood Estates neighborhood said they hope he stays there for a very long time.
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