Monticello Express Editorial

Posted July 26, 2013 at 11:16 am

Senseless acts of cemetery theft

If you read the police report in last week’s Monticello Express, there was an incident reported on July 9, stating that the Jones County Dispatchers called the Monticello Police Department to warn them of cemetery thefts in the area.

The Sheriff’s Department received calls referencing Sacred Heart Cemetery. Apparently people are stealing World War II markers off of gravestones of local veterans. The Sheriff’s Department indicated they might have been stolen and sold for scrap metal.

Earlier this month, a cemetery in Chariton, Iowa, reported multiple thefts of eternal flames. In this case, people are resorting to such heinous acts of crime just for the lithium batteries, which can be used in making meth.

In January of this year, a cemetery in Sioux City noticed many grave vases attached to the headstones and military markers were stolen. Much like the incident in our very own Sacred Heart Cemetery, people are turning these gravestone pieces in for scrap metal to make a buck or two.

In the Sioux City cemetery, a total of 181 vases and 112 military markers were reported stolen, and later recovered from a scrap metal yard.

When we hear about incidents like this in our own town, vandalism and theft in our own cemeteries, you have to wonder what would move these criminals to steal something from such a sacred place. These are final resting places for so many loved ones and family members in Monticello. It’s just sad!

With a tough economy and hard times, I guess people will resort to anything in order to stay above water, no matter how senseless it is. They need to think about how they would feel if a stranger vandalized their property or their loved one’s gravestone!

If you see or hear any reports of damage at our area cemeteries, call the Jones County Sheriff’s Department or the Monticello Police Department. Sooner or later, those who committed these crimes will be caught.

In the case of Sioux City cemetery thefts, the scrap metal yard must have thought something was odd when someone (or multiple people) brought in military markers off of gravestones. These people will try and sell it anyway they can. (K.N.B.)