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Family frustrated by recurring theft at local cemetery

Posted at 12:09 AM, Jun 26, 2020
and last updated 2020-06-26 00:09:56-04

TYRONE TOWNSHIP, Mich. — A Kent City family is frustrated by thieves stealing items placed near their mother's gravestone in her honor.

Sherry Wylie passed away 7 years ago. She is buried at Idlewild Cemetery in Tyrone Township, located near Kent City.

Throughout the years, they have placed flowers and other items near her headstone, cautious to abide by the rules so that the groundskeeper wouldn't dispose of them.

A few years ago, they placed hanging baskets on shepherd's hooks. They were taken shortly after. They replaced the baskets and again, they were stolen.

This year on Mother's Day, Kendra McIntyre placed heavy flower pots specifically chosen because they were heavier. She expected the weight to deter thieves. She and her niece, Ava Wylie, picked out the pots together and pink geraniums, which were planted inside.

"Pink just reminds me of her. So we just wanted to pick something bright and vibrant like her spirit," said McIntyre.

She learned earlier this week, the flowers and pots were taken. The township supervisor assured them the groundskeeper had not disposed of them. McIntyre even checked the cemetery's dumpsters to see if they had been thrown away, but they were no where in sight.

"I’m just beside myself that somebody would have the audacity to do this. It’s sickening," said McIntyre. "What kind of world is it that we are living in when you can’t place flowers for your loved ones in the cemetery without worrying about them being taken."

The township supervisor told FOX 17 that this was the first reported theft at the cemetery in 2020, but that it's not necessarily uncommon around this time of year.

McIntyre posted on Facebook to ask if anyone has had similar issues at the cemetery or any others nearby, and overwhelmingly, people replied their families had experience similar ordeals.

The township supervisor says he is looking into the possibility of increasing patrols in the area. He asks that any neighbors who see wrongdoing to report the actions to local authorities and asks them not to confront the individuals themselves.