It’s a crime that impacts victims more sentimentally than financially, but it’s still one that the wants to solve.
After receiving calls on a regular basis from residents who have allegedly had items taken from their loved ones’ grave sites, police have set up cameras in Wildwood Cemetery on multiple occasions with no luck.
But during their latest surveillence efforts, officers lucked out with images of two separate incidents of graveyard theft. Now, Detective Pat Nally wants the community’s help in identifying the parties involved.
“It’s all the principle of the thing,” said Nally. “Whether it’s something worth $2 or something worth $50, these people are putting things out in memory of a loved one. Regardless of the money it’s a personal attack to everyone it happens to.”
Police set up the camera on Friday, August 17, and captured thefts over the days that followed. In one of the incidents, multiple parties walked up to the grave site and removed a light that is likely only worth less than $10.
Nally said the department receives phone calls several times per month from residents reporting items missing from the cemetery. In many cases the items, such as lights or plant holders, have been stolen while in other cases decorations could have been moved or blown away during maintenance of the grounds.
Anyone who may recognize the subjects in the surveillance photos is encouraged to contact Nally at (978) 658-5071 or via e-mail.
“We’ve had cameras before with items for bait, but it hadn’t worked out until this week with us getting lucky enough to get a look at the person,” said Nally. “I don’t get the rhyme or reason for why people steal from the cemetery. I can’t imagine there is much of a market for what gets stolen, but it’s something we want to put a stop to.”