'Funeral Day Burglar' sentenced to 43 years in prison

Thursday, July 17, 2008 | 5:57 p.m. CDT; updated 5:19 p.m. CDT, Monday, July 21, 2008

PLATTE CITY — A Kansas City man notorious for burglarizing homes while owners were at funerals has been given a 43-year prison sentence.

Circuit Judge Owens Lee Hull Jr. sentenced Dane S. Johnson Thursday to 43 years in prison. In May, Hull convicted Johnson of one count of first-degree burglary, four counts of second-degree burglary and five counts of stealing.

Johnson faced up to 78 years in prison.

"Four decades in prison is an appropriate sentence for this series of outrageous crimes,'' Platte County Prosecutor Eric Zahnd said.

Johnson and partner Landon N. Prothro were dubbed the "Funeral Day Burglars'' after burglarizing more than 30 homes in five counties from late 2005 to early 2006. They picked their victims by reading real estate listings and obituaries, and hit model homes, homes on real estate tours and homes where owners would be attending funerals.

Prothro was sentenced to 28 years in prison in October 2006 after pleading guilty to four counts of burglary in Platte County. Zahnd said the state granted Prothro leniency because he cooperated with authorities to solve dozens of burglaries.

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.

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