Thieves Targeting Cemetery - WTOC-TV: Savannah, Beaufort, SC, News, Weather & Sports

04/10/06

Thieves Targeting Cemetery

Cemeteries should be peaceful resting places. But thieves are targeting one cemetery. In the last few years, Bloomingdale's Gravel Hill Cemetery had about a dozen reported incidents. But what started as stolen flowers is getting even more personal and police are on the lookout after the most recent theft happened last week.

Gravedigger Eugene Davis says thieves are disturbing the peace. "It bothers me when someone comes into the cemetery and steals," he said. 

Over the last ten years, Davis has been tending to the cemetery grounds, but not too long ago things started disappearing. "Flowers, tombstones, headstones and tents," Davis told us. "If a tent is left overnight, they get that too."

"I can't comprehend why someone would do anything like that," said Chief Tom Gossett of the Bloomingdale Police Department.

Chief Gossett says public concern is growing. "This is the only place we have had a problem, this cemetery."

He says this has been happening over the last five years. It started with stolen flowers and graduated to damaged headstones and flowers tossed in the woods. Now, it's getting more personal. Mementos left for loved ones have gone missing.

"One time, it was a green ceramic frog," Chief Gossett said. "That can only be important to the people who left it there."

Different families, different memories stolen. "The family left a hand woven deer--the guy was a big deer hunter--someone took that," Chief Gossett told us. "It takes a pretty sorry person to go into a cemetery and take items people have left for their loved ones."

And for Eugene Davis, a "cemetery is not something to play with. No way." So he is keeping an eye out. He's got a name for Gravel Hill Cemetery thieves. "They are lowlifes, to do something like that."

Chief Gossett says patrols have been making the rounds. Davis says he's seen police come through once every hour over the last few weeks. They used to have cameras on the property, but not any more.

Chief Gossett is urging anyone who sees anything fishy to call police immediately. The Bloomingdale PD can be reached at (912) 748-8302.

Reported by: Don Logana, dlogana@wtoc.com

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