- Associated Press - Saturday, June 7, 2014

NORTH PLATTE, Neb. (AP) - Thefts of mementos left by loved ones at graves in a North Platte cemetery are growing increasingly blatant, one owner of the cemetery says.

Sue Condon, co-owner of Floral Lawns Memorial Gardens cemetery, said items stolen since Memorial Day include solar lights, pinwheels and planters, the North Platte Telegraph (https://bit.ly/1oI1rOe ) reported Saturday.

The thefts have become more frequent over the past three years, Condon said, adding that this year has been the worst.

On Thursday afternoon, she and her husband had cleared decorations from the infant section of the cemetery to mow, putting the decorations in a silver trailer. But when she and her husband returned to the trailer that evening, it had been cleaned out, she said. The only thing that remained was a 5-gallon bucket which had been filled with solar lights and pinwheels.

“How do you sleep at night?” Condon asked of the thieves.

Lyle Minshull, North Platte park and cemetery supervisor, said police will occasionally monitor the cemetery, and he will drive through to check that things are quiet.

“Historically, we’ve had challenges in that area,” Minshull said.

He said there have been some cases where stolen decorations were the result of family squabbles. But he has caught people stealing grave decorations before.

“Most of it, you can tell,” he said. “Their vehicles are quite full.”

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Information from: The North Platte Telegraph, https://www.nptelegraph.com

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