Thwarting Cemetery Thefts with Creativity

Dec 27, 2012 | 0 comments

In a recent Dear Abby column, readers provided creative suggestions on how to prevent the theft of floral tributes, flags and other meaningful items left in cemeteries and placed on graves.

Here are several letters from readers with their tips. Good suggestions here!

DEAR ABBY: May I comment on the letter from “Itching to Get Even in Cincinnati” (Oct. 1), the woman who was upset that the handmade wreaths she had placed on her family graves had been stolen?

I volunteer at a historical cemetery. Many cemeteries have rules about the type and size of grave decorations that are allowed on the grounds, which is sometimes none at all. In fact, if decorations are allowed, unless they can be firmly attached to the ground, real flowers are usually preferred because they biodegrade and do not create a nightmare for groundskeepers when the plastic eventually weakens.

While it’s touching that “Itching” and her sister continue to make thoughtful and beautiful arrangements for their deceased loved ones, they should consider speaking with the cemetery office or groundskeeper about any regulations they might have in order to avoid this kind of upset again. — MAUREEN IN BROOKLYN, N.Y.

DEAR ABBY: When Dad died, my mom and I returned to his grave the next day. All the flowers were missing, but the plastic they were attached to was still there. When we inquired about it we were told that deer come down at night and eat the flowers. My dad, a nature lover, would have been pleased that they provided a meal for the deer. — STILL MISSING HIM

DEAR ABBY: The dead are no longer of this world. When people visit their graves, they should leave good thoughts, not material items that end up as trash or stolen. — PAMELA IN VICTORVILLE, CALIF.

Cemetery AngelDEAR ABBY: After my mother died, I bought a concrete garden angel statue and put it by her headstone. Like “Itching,” I too was bitter after it was stolen.

When I told my husband, he told me, “Honey, your mother was an angel. She didn’t need one. Someone else must have needed one.” After he said it, it put the incident into a different perspective. — ANGEL’S DAUGHTER IN MISSOURI

DEAR ABBY: Years ago, the flags my mother and I had placed on Memorial Day were stolen. After that we would write, “Stolen from the grave of …” on the sticks of the flags we left for my father’s and stepfather’s graves. It worked! — DOT IN NEW JERSEY

DEAR ABBY: My sister made a Christmas tree for our mother’s grave and decorated it with functional lights. When I asked her why she went to the extra expense, she replied that she knew it would likely be stolen. She said she wanted the thief to have a tree with working lights, so the person would have a brighter Christmas. — GERRY IN HUNSTVILLE, TEXAS

DEAR ABBY: I had the same problem until I started attaching small signs to my floral wreaths that read, “Thou Shalt Not Steal.” I make the signs business card-sized, cover them with clear tape, attach them to a beverage straw and insert them in the flowers or attach them to the wreaths. So far it has worked. And if it doesn’t, at least it may make the thief think twice. — MARIE IN PENNSYLVANIA

A Good Goodbye