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Feb 17, 2021

Lake Wales man arrested for burglarizing homes while families were attending funerals

Media Contact: Brian Bruchey, PIO

A Lake Wales man has been arrested by the Polk County Sheriff’s Office following ten residential burglaries which occurred during funerals; the targeted homes were either owned by a recently deceased resident or by the relative(s) of a recently deceased person.

42-year-old Ronald Rose is now in the Polk County Jail with no bond, charged with: 2-counts of Armed Burglary (F1), 8-counts of Burglary of an Unoccupied Dwelling (F2), Grand Theft between $20,000 and $100,000 (F2), 8-counts of Grand Theft from a Dwelling (F3), 7-counts of Grand Theft of a Firearm (F3), and Petit Theft (M2).

“People who burglarize or steal are low, so victimizing people during a time when they are grieving the loss of a loved one…that’s lower than low. Someone who is willing to take advantage of people at a time like this has no compassion or consideration, and is a true menace to society.”- Grady Judd, Sheriff.

Rose has been charged for ten burglaries which occurred between October 1, 2020 through February 8, 2021, in the areas of Auburndale, Mulberry, Lakeland, and Haines City.

A detective investigating one of the burglaries discovered there were at least nine other burglaries that had also occurred while the victims were away at a funeral which had been publicly noted in obituaries.

Other similarities were that the burglaries occurred during the daytime, and the primary target for theft included jewelry, watches, silver, coins, and firearms.

On Monday, February 15, 2021, Ronald Rose was arrested. During an interview with a detective, he confessed to committing one of the Auburndale burglaries.

The car Rose used for the recent Auburndale burglary was a rental car- a 2020 Kia Optima.

During a search of the Kia, property of evidentiary value was found within it that led to a search warrant being obtained for Rose’s home.

Detectives went to Rose’s home on Carver Street in Lake Wales and found a gray Caddillac CTS there which is registered to Rose. That Cadillac matched the vehicle description given by witnesses on a few of the burglaries.

During a search of Rose’s home, additional stolen property was recovered and tied back to the ten burglaries.

Because some of the property that was found in Rose’s home has not been reported stolen by the ten known burglary victims, detectives believe there are potentially more victims, possibly in other counties and jurisdictions. Detectives are reaching out to other agencies to share their findings. The investigation is ongoing.

If anyone believes they have been a victim of one of these burglaries, or they believe the residence of a deceased loved-one has been burglarized in this manner, you are asked to contact the Polk County Sheriff’s Office at 863-298-6200. 

Ronald Rose’s prior criminal history consists of six felony charges and fifteen misdemeanor charges, including arrests for: Burglaries, Battery, Thefts, Criminal Mischief, Resisting, Drug Possessions, and numerous Violations of Probation.