Family believes father’s home was targeted after publishing his obituary

IOWA COUNTY (WKOW) -- After his father's death in early January, Bruce Fox said he did his best to take care of his father's collection of cars, motorcycles, engines and tractors.

"Anything you know that would run. Anything that was a machine," he said. "They were his toys."

Fox said he took care of most of the valuable belongings in the days just after his father's death but there were some things he just couldn't find a home for before others decided to take matters into their own hands.

"You'd like to think better of people than that but obviously this wasn't their first time doing something like that," he said.

Fox said he first noticed it the night after his father's funeral. He and his brother were going through his father's shed and discovered a motorcycle was missing.

"Against the back wall, it had been there 30 years easily," he said. "You'd have to know my dad, he didn't sell everything. If it was gone, someone took it. "

A closer look revealed boot prints from someone pulling it out of the mud and carrying it out of the shed.

"It was really evident that an old man didn't do that," Fox said.

Fox investigated the rest of the property and noticed it wasn't the only motorcycle missing and there were other items that appeared to be lined up for thieves to pick up later.

"We removed the stuff we thought people would take but I guess thieves will take anything," he said.

Fox believes the home was targeted after his family published his father's obituary explaining when and for how long the place would be empty. Though with evidence thieves could return, Fox wanted beef up security.

He added trail cameras near the sheds he believes thieves targeted and days after the initial heist, he had proof they returned.

Photos of the thieves captured on the trail cameras

"After we saw the photos on the one camera we thought, okay, this is going to be a big problem so now we have cameras everywhere," he said. "They went everywhere, every building, every vehicle no stone left unturned."

Fox said he showed the images to the Iowa County Sheriff's Office and filed a report, but he's not expecting much to change.

"It's not likely anything'll be returned, it's not likely they'll be caught," he said.

Instead, he hopes sharing his story will encourage other families to stay on guard in case these thieves strike again.

"These are opportunistic thieves searching the obituaries for easy targets," he said.

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