Local News

Cemetery Crooks Pluck Flowers Off Fayetteville Gravesites

Posted July 7, 1999

— Some thieves in Fayetteville are sinking about a low as you can go. They have been stealing flowers off of gravesites.

The problem has gotten so bad, some florists are warning their customers.

Many of the thefts are not reported to police, but florists say they are hearing more and more stories of flowers being stolen right off graves.

Garland Capps, 81, is trying to cope with his grief by staying busy. Last Sunday, his wife of 60 years passed away.

"I have never shed as many tears in my life, as I shed over her," he said.

Capps' grief overwhelmed him when he went back to the cemetery the night following his wife's funeral. He and his family saw a woman driving away with the red roses from wreaths left at Sudie Capps' graveside.

Florists around town say it is common for people to steal flowers from cemeteries. They usually target large, expensive silk arrangements.

"What kind of people steal from the dead?" said florist David Valentine. He is so disturbed by the stealing that he now warns his customers that they may not want to spend a lot of money on graveside bouquets.

"They want something big and nice, and you tell them, 'Have you ever put anything out there before?' You're kind of like forewarning them, that at a lot of cemeteries, it's gone," Valentine said.

Garland Capps says he will take flowers to his wife's grave again. He hopes the next time everyone will respect his wife's life and death.

"I just didn't think there was that kind of person in the world, that's the truth," Capps said.

Cemetery managers say sometimes the wind can blow the flowers away, but they do acknowledge arrangements are stolen. Usually the ones closest to the road are the ones taken.

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