Donations stolen during woman's funeral, police say

Someone who went to a southwestern Illinois woman's funeral looted a box containing donations meant for the woman's 3-year-old daughter, police said.

Investigators said relatives of 28-year-old Krystle Flaherty, who died Oct. 20 at a Belleville hospital, reported that the money was stolen during the Swansea woman's funeral Saturday at First Baptist Church in Fairview Heights, east of St. Louis. Only a $50 check and torn-open envelopes were left inside.

Terri Halvachs, a grandmother of the surviving girl, Lillian Flaherty, said she called police after opening the box at her home after found it had been raided, most likely while the preacher was leading the service. Halvachs said she later learned from friends and other relatives that they had made donations, nearly filling the box.

"I am totally appalled and in shock," Halvachs told the St. Louis-Post Dispatch. This is the most outrageous thing that can be done — stealing from a little girl during her mother's funeral."

Investigators also voiced dismay about the theft's brazenness.

"You don't even imagine anyone doing anything like that," Fairview Heights police Lt. Steve Evans told the Belleville News-Democrat.