PLATTE CITY, MO. — A Kansas City man notorious for burglarizing homes while owners were at funerals was found guilty Friday in connection with five Platte County burglaries.
Circuit Judge Owens Lee Hull Jr. found Dane S. Johnson, 35, guilty of 10 counts - one count of first degree burglary, four counts of second degree burglary and five counts of stealing - following a bench trial this week.
Johnson and Landon N. Prothro were dubbed the "Funeral Day Burglars" after burglarizing more than 30 homes in five area counties from late 2005 to early 2006. They picked their victims by reading real estate listings and obituaries, hitting model homes, homes on real estate tours or homes where owners would be attending funerals.
In one Platte County case, a man was at a funeral for his wife while Johnson burglarized his home.
"It's hard to imagine a more cruel and heartless burglary scheme than this one," Platte County Prosecutor Eric Zahnd said. "Picking out a home to break into because the owner is at a funeral reveals a complete lack of any conscience whatsoever. Dane Johnson deserves every year he will spend in prison."
Johnson faces up to 78 years in prison. Prothro received 28 years in prison in October 2006 after pleading guilty to four counts of burglary in Platte County. Zahnd said Johnson should spend even more time behind bars for refusing to admit to his crimes.
Johnson and Prothro were arrested by the Platte County Sheriff after a home burglary in February 2006. A resident confronted the duo, and they were stopped after they fled the home.
A third defendant, Stephanie Riddle, 32, of Kansas City, faces six charges of receiving stolen property from the burglaries. Prosecutors say Riddle received items Johnson and Prothro had taken from the homes. Her case is set for trial on Oct. 27.