Jewelry thief has history of theft

Dunedin, Florida — Keeping your loved ones and their property safe after they've passed is what funeral service workers are supposed to do.

10 News is asking one funeral home some tough questions after a worker they contracted was caught stealing from a dead woman.

Nancy Kerr says she saw the whole thing.

"I've never seen anything like that before," she said.

44-year-old Terrance Stubblefield was arrested outside of her home for stealing, deputies say, from 88-year-old Maryellen Woods.

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"That is the worst thing anyone could ever do, is to steal from some dead person," Kerr said.

Woods was found dead of natural causes at her Dunedin home Thursday.

Deputies say the theft happened when Stubblefield was sent out to collect Maryellen's body from her Dunedin home.

As Stubblefield was walked out they saw a necklace sticking out of his pocket. When they approached Stubblefield about it, he ended up admitting he tried to steal $1,000 worth of jewelry from Woods' home.

In a simple search, 10 News found Stubblefield has been arrested multiple times for larceny and theft. When we went to Sylvan Abbey Funeral Home in Clearwater to ask how they screen the people they hire, they turned us away, referring us to a PR representative that would not comment on hiring procedures.

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That's unacceptable to Kerr, who just lost a friend of 16 years.

"Yes they should be scrutinized a LOT more than what they were," she said.

Stubblefield was charged with grand theft and is being held in the Pinellas County Jail. Deputies are asking others to come forward if they've seen Stubblefield in their home and items are missing.

For more information on how to protect yourself and your family during funeral planning, click this link.

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