Who Steals Wreaths?

English: PENSACOLA, Fla. (Dec. 11, 2010) Wreat...

Remember my ‘Wreaths Across America’ post? (I know you all read it and re-read it and then printed it and taped it to your headboards so that it is the first thing you see when you wake up in the morning…) Anyway, a number of volunteers participated in the event at Glacier Memorial Gardens in Kalispell, Montana by laying wreaths on veterans’ graves to honor their memory. And then days later, someone stole them.

As reported by Tristan Scott:

Volunteers placed 500 wreaths on veterans’ graves at a memorial cemetery north of Kalispell last weekend and within days about half of them had been stolen.

“At first I thought, this can’t be. Who would steal wreaths from a cemetery?” said Dale Rodwick, senior member of the Flathead Composite Squadron MT053 of the U.S. Civil Air Patrol, which dedicated the wreaths as part of the national Wreaths Across America campaign.

The wreaths were placed at Glacier Memorial Gardens on Dec. 10 by cadets of the squadron, which adopted the cemetery and helps care for the 850 veteran grave sites there.

Rodwick said he believes the thefts of roughly 250 wreaths occurred Monday, and local law enforcement has since been canvassing Christmas tree lots in case the wreaths were stolen to be resold.

“We don’t know if someone is trying to resell them or if they are just vandals,” Rodwick said.

He estimated the value of the missing wreaths at around $3,000, and said Friday that the Worcester Wreath Co. in Maine was donating 100 wreaths to help recoup losses. The new wreaths will arrive sometime next week, and Rodwick said the squadron will organize a brief re-dedication ceremony at the time.

“It looks as though there is a happy ending to this story as Christmas approaches,” he said. “The fact that we can get some wreaths back to the veterans is good news.”

Sigh. Stories like these no longer surprise me because it seems cemeteries get vandalized almost every day. Cemetery thieves steal bronze memorial plaques, flowers, grave decorations and anything else they can get their grubby little hands on. And unless cemetery management can afford 24-hr video cams or night security, there’s not much they can do to stop theft or vandalism.
But really, who steals a wreath off a veterans’ grave? That’s a new low. Especially during the holidays – what happened to ‘Peace on earth and good will to all?’ I hope they find these creeps soon and punish them severely.