Grave Robbers

I try to be upbeat about human nature and think positively about the basic goodness of mankind, but some days it is really hard. The lastest example of how low people can get is the growing incidence of cemetery flower robberies. Yes, people are going to cemeteries and when no one is looking they steal the flowers and take them home to decorate their gardens and patios and front yards.

I came across this terrible practice when for four of the last five years the flowers on my in-laws grave were stolen during the early summer.  The perpetrator waited until the flowers, which were planted on Memorial Day, got really big and beautiful and then sometime in late June, probably on a weekend when cemetery employees were not working, dug them out and drove away.

Our family thought that we were unusual victims of this kind of theft, but the more we talked to others at the cemetery and flower shops near the cemetery, we found that this kind of grave robbing is now commonplace. The owners of a flower shop that caters to the cemetery trade said that business is down, not only because of the economy, but also because peop0le are just digging up flowers from the grave instead of buying them. Why buy flowers when you can rip them off from someone else.

It gets worse. There was a story recently about a family in a nearby town who for three years had the flowers stolen from the grave of their son who died in Iraq. Can you imagine stealing a hero’s flowers placed there  by grieving parents? Finally, the family had enough and with the help of the police placed a GPS device in the flowers and sure enough the thief took the flowers. This time, however, he was traced to his home and his beautiful flower garden. He was arrested for the theft, but the police could not prove he stole the flowers the previous years. It simply boggles the mind that people would rob the graves of flowers to beautify their yards.

As is tradition, our family purchased flowers for the grave of mom and dad this year and we crossed our fingers that they will last the entire summer. But if the past is any guide, the petty criminals out their will come again when no one is looking and dig them up. What a world we live in.

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