Flower thieves target Silverbrook CemeteryPublished 4:02pm Thursday, July 5, 2012
A Niles resident is upset after learning someone stole two hanging flower baskets from her grandmother’s grave at Silverbrook Cemetery in Niles this week.
Janet Hendershott noticed the flowers were missing when she went to water them Monday.
“It was a giant pink petunia and a big red geranium (basket),” she said. “People might not think it is a big deal, but, to me, it is disgraceful. It’s disgusting that someone would do this. It really is.”
Silverbrook Cemetery employees said what happened to Hendershott is a growing problem.
“It’s a lot worse now than it was in the past. I’d say 70 percent worse,” said Ron Krueger, who has worked at the cemetery for nearly 30 years.
Krueger’s co-worker, Leanne Hoese, said she gets calls nearly every day from people complaining of stolen items.
Hoese said the cemetery keeps a record of all complaints, but employees don’t forward them to police — they leave that to the people filing the complaint. Hoese estimates as many as 75 plants have gone missing so far this year.
“We’ve had garden hoses stolen, too,” Hoese said. “They’ll steal anything that isn’t nailed down.”
Niles City Police Chief Jim Millin said he isn’t aware of any recent reports of items stolen from Silverbrook Cemetery.
“But I would agree on occasion we have thefts of flowers and, sometimes, figurines there,” he said.
Hoese said flower thefts increase around holidays because that is when loved ones typically spruce up gravesites with newer and better flowers and displays.
“Some of these flower baskets aren’t cheap — $50 to $60 bucks a pop — which is one reason why people get so upset,” Hoese said. “We wish somebody would get caught.”
Hoese said thefts probably occur at night or between the hours of 4 p.m. and dusk. Cemetery employees generally get off work around 4 p.m.
Millin said police patrol the cemetery before locking the gates around dusk.
“If people see something suspicious, they should contact police,” Millin said.
Betty Whiting, of Niles, was at Silverbrook Cemetery Thursday morning watering flowers around her family plots. She said she has never had anything stolen from her plots but has heard of it happening elsewhere.
“The cemetery is one place you’d hope people would leave alone,” she said.
Tags: Silverbrook Cemetery