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Letters to the Editor

Cemetery theft

April 11, 2012

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To the editor:

On Friday before Easter, I went to visit my grandson. You see, he is buried at Oak Hill Cemetery in Lawrence. As I sat down by him, I noticed our solar stake lights and statue of an angel were missing. To whomever took them, I hope you are enjoying them at home or at your relative’s grave. You should be ashamed of yourself for stealing from a baby. I will be replacing them. Please have some respect for all who have gone before us.

Comments

Paul R Getto 1 year, 12 months ago

Karma's a b*tch sometimes, but those who steal from the dead will feel its weight sometime down the road.

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Greg Cooper 2 years ago

I, too, am very sorry about your loss, and wish, as you, that whoever is responsible would return the items to the cemetery.

I do, however, have a suggestion that might mitigate future situations. My father's grave is adorned with several items left by grieving friends. For instance, there is a golf ball (Titleist 2, all he would use) and a tee epoxied to the gravestone base. Other items are also permanently attached, and never has anyone broken them off or taken them.

On the subject of plants and addenda to the gravesite, I am sure the cemetery maintainers would be appreciative (if they even allow such plantings and additions) if such things were physically separated from the general grounds, i.e., a small fence or garden enclosure surrounding the pland or statue. There could be no doubt, then, as to what was to be mowed and what wasn't. HOWEVER, unless you have made arrangements with the maintainers that they understand these placements and will trim them regularly, you must be responsible for such trimming. The rest of the famillies of the deceased have a right for your plot to be as neatly kept as theirs and the regular trimming of your precious things is the only way that the character of the plot will match the rest of the cemetery.

I hope you take this in the spirit in which it is given: the belief that your plot is as precious to you as ohters are to their families. May your God bless you for remembering and honoring your deceased, and may others have the same respect for the grave that you do.

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none2 2 years ago

It is a sorry world we live in. I have no idea what percentage of the population has no respect for graves. Hopefully, it is a very small percentage of humanity. Unfortunately, all it takes is one inconsiderate person to cause damage. I've heard all sorts of horror stories about graves. Here is one that just happened 3-April in Topeka:

http://cjonline.com/news/2012-04-03/two-stones-local-cemetery-damaged

I've heard of other vile things at other locations. Some I discovered while doing genealogy. One distant relative in east central Kansas told me about a farmer whose property was adjacent to a small cemetery. The farmer threw the headstones into the nearby creek so that he could farm that extra piece of land. Any that have live in this area for very long may also know how so many kids would break into the Stull Cemetery. It is my understanding such is why they tore down what remained of a small chapel in that cemetery. Kids swore the chapel ruins were the gateway to hell, so they kept going into that cemetery. For years I had always hoped that someday someone would rebuild it, but they finally just completely tore it down.

So I hope for the author as well as others who have had such experiences find peace. Hopefully, if you do replace what you had, I hope others leave it alone. It seems that cemetery vandals run the gamut. From greedy people who want to use grave land or ornaments on graves for their own profit or benefit, kids that think it is cool to dare each other to desecrate graves or cemeteries as if it was some kind of honorable right of passage, to uncaring workers who see nothing wrong with throwing away things that are allowed to be there just so their mowing job is easier. Regardless of the motivation, it is selfish and cruel. Even if they have no religious affiliation and simply believe that the dead are dust, they must know that those graves might mean something to someone who is very much alive.

I don't want to be totally negative on this post. Sometimes good things do happen. For instance, if you read the paper, you may know that a headstone for one of the victims of Quantril's raids who was from Lecompton had his headstone show up. I also talked to a man who saw that civil war vets who didn't have headstones in his cemetery, got one. One of those veterans he so honored was my great great great grandfather. His grave now has a proper stone. For some stranger to care enough to order a stone for a veteran 105 years after he died, shows a lot of respect.

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Christine Anderson 2 years ago

If you try to pay respects by means of flowers or tiny wooden statues, beware of the groundskeepers at Pioneer Cemetery! Spent hours carefully planting two miniature rose bushes (within half an inch from the headstone) and left two small statues at the grave of a special person who would have been grandfather to babies I lost. Idiots mowed the roses off and mowed off the head of one of the statues. At nearby graves, toy boats, cars, and fishing gear ( clearly left in honor of loved and missed grandparents) were left undisturbed.

I am so sorry Ms. Bigman, to hear you have experienced the same thing.

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scopi_guy 2 years ago

When I was pretty young, I remember my mom running some kind of errand at a business over on west 6th street---kind of over by where the Pennzoil oil change place is now. There is an area with black iron fencing in some very old looking grave markers (or there was...this was about 35 or more years ago). I was sitting in the car, waiting, when I noticed a few kids in there messing around. Then one of them pulled up one of the stones and used it to knock down a few others. It was one of the most disturbing things I've ever seen and will never forget that.

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nate cleveland 2 years ago

cemetarys are a very sacred place and people do need to understand and respect that. I totally think if you want to put something next to your loved ones resting place then by all means do it! Even people that care for cemetarys should be curtious enough to move vases or whatever and move it back to its original place when finished mowing or whatever. Thiefs and vandals that break stuff and steal from graves are very disturbing...

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abigman 2 years ago

I had the ceramic angel right under the marker for the past 3 yrs with no problem. It was about 6 inches high with about an inch of the base embedded in the ground. The lights were close enough to the marker as well. I have been to the burial site numerous times after it was mowed with everything still intacted. If you gaze to other sites-you could see shepard hooks, solar light posts, shrubs, tall vases, statues and other ornaments in the same general "baby hill" (hill where children/infants are interred.) My intentions for this letter is to express my displeasure for cemetery theft and that people need to know that cemeteries should be respected and protected.

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nate cleveland 2 years ago

I dont know this to be true in your situation but, when I worked for a lawn service we mowed and weed eated a cemetary and I was cut by some broken glass while weed eating and the city or whomever makes the rules for the cemetary may or may not allow you to have monuments or mason jars with flowers in them etc. just for the simple fact that a person could be injured if they happen to hit something like that while keeping up on the grass...

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Aileen Dingus 2 years ago

I'm not trying to be a jerk, and I'm certainly not minimizing your pain, but have you checked with the cemetary office? The items may have been removed pursuant to the regulations. (http://www.lprd.org/_parks/pdf/cemeteryrules.pdf) I specifically mean section B.7. "No physical structures or materials allowed beside the monument"

I don't know if your lights etc fall under that rule, but it is a possibility that an Oak Hill employee thought they did, and removed them for that reason.

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pagan_idolator 2 years ago

I have noticed things taken off my nephew's grave at Memorial cemetery as well. What drives these people to be so heartless and disrespectful?

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Mike Ford 2 years ago

grave theft was legalized through the antiquities act of 1906. some people want roads through graveyards because what counts for one race doesn't matter for others. the munsee cemetery southeast of pomona has had kids partying in it and grave stones stolen. sorry for your loss.

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waiting 2 years ago

Probably sitting next to the bird bath stolen off of my mother's grave. Seems like someone is decorating their yard by stealing from grieving families.

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Flap Doodle 2 years ago

Stealing from a grave has got to be worth getting stuck in one of the lowest levels of the infernal regions for a few thousand years.

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pace 2 years ago

I am sorry this happened. I hope that some fool comes to his/their senses and returns them. It is just wrong.

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