Man admits to stealing money at funerals via paper ads
A Victorian man has admitted he snatched money from mourners at funerals, but is disputing he got away with thousands of dollars.
Paul Pecora is accused of targeting grieving families after searching tributes in the newspaper that requested donations in lieu of flowers.
He first attended a funeral uninvited at an Avondale Heights church in July 2017, where he searched through the sacristy while the service took place.
Last November it's alleged he made off with $700 in a donation box from a Bundoora funeral.
In January this year, security vision captured Pecora cutting through the procession at a funeral for a 43-year-old father named Shane, who has an autistic child.
In the Werribee Magistrates Court today, the 57-year-old admitted he stole envelopes containing money for the deceased’s five-year-old boy, Kai.
But he denied he had taken $7000.
A week later he went along to a woman's funeral in Essendon - accused of waiting for a chance to strike again - but left empty handed.
He turned himself into police later that night, telling investigators he couldn’t help it and he: “saw an opportunity to take some money and I took the money".
"I don't even know who the funeral was for to tell you the truth."
The court heard the investigating officer contacted every single mourner who attended Shane's funeral, and confirmed how much they each donated to little Kai, some generously gave from $500-$3000.
Despite his admissions, Pecora is yet to formally plead and will face court again next month.
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