Items going missing from cemeteries

Posted at 5:43 AM, Aug 02, 2017
and last updated 2017-08-02 01:52:35-04

JASPER, Fla. (WTXL) - A woman who often visits the Evergreen Cemetery in Jasper can't believe the theft that happened there.

She goes to the cemetery because her son, Justin, is buried there. He died at 12 years of age.

"It was 1996 and it was out in the country," said Diane Cribb. "He had a go kart accident."

"I wanted to create a really nice memorial for him," she said. "A place where we could come and visit. Share memories, tears, hugs and kisses, which we've done."

But when she walked up to her son's plot in late June, a granite bench that had been here for more than 20 years was gone.

"I felt sick, saddened, mad," she said.

Cribb is one of many people in north Florida dealing with this kind of problem.

WTXL first heard about the issue online. People posted about flowers, wreaths, balloons, even statues going missing from burial plots. Sometimes the items were removed only hours after they were left.

In Live Oak, City Clerk John Gill says he thinks some of this could be weather-related.

He says the city also goes through once or twice a year and cleans up any rotting or neglected flowers.

Ashley Bridge said: "Most cemeteries, especially those in rural areas, are owned and run by the city or municipality where they're at... and of all the county and city officials I spoke with, none of them could tell me about a cemetery they know of where there is actually surveillance.

Cribb said the cemeteries could at least lock the gate at night.

"That would be a start," she said. "I wish we could get the word out there that whether cemeteries need to be more closely guarded or what, because it's devastating to families that are living with a loss of a loved one. This was something that was created in honor of my son."

Jasper Police Chief Jeff McGuire says the granite bench theft is still under investigation.

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