Leave graves alone, cops say following reported incident
The Lockhart Police Department is reminding the public to leave floral arrangements on gravesites alone or face potential jail time following a recent report of a floral arrangement mysteriously disappearing shortly after a burial service.
Lockhart resident Ronda Powers was already having a rough weekend. On Saturday, her family buried her sister, Sherry Martin, at Lockhart City Cemetery following her untimely death from COVID-19.
But her weekend went from bad to worse when her family went to visit the grave the next afternoon and discovered that the floral spray from her casket had been mysteriously removed, Powers said.
Martin, a Lockhart native who had graduated from Lockhart High School in 1975, had been buried in the family’s plot that weekend, and her sister called the apparent theft of the floral arrangement with an estimated value of $600 a “heartless” act.
“Those beautiful flowers wouldn’t have lasted long on top of her grave,” Powers said. “But they were hers. And they were a tribute to a beautiful woman whose death has devastated us.”
Powers said the flowers had been as they left them at about 6 p.m. Saturday, Aug. 27, but had gone missing by Sunday at 3 p.m.
Lockhart Police Chief Ernest Pedraza said stealing items from an individual’s headstone was neither a victimless crime nor one law enforcement and the judicial system take lightly.
“The recent desecration of a loved one’s resting place at the City Cemetery is unacceptable,” Pedraza said in a written statement. “Our cemetery is a place of honor and reflection for Lockhart, and we want to keep it that way. Stealing property from someone’s grave is not only disrespectful, but also a state jail felony. If you have any information on this incident, we encourage you to call Lockhart Police at (512) 398-4401.”
The City of Lockhart Parks Department staff checks the cemetery as part of their maintenance routine, a spokesperson said on Tuesday, but said it had not received similar complaints.
“We’ve received calls asking if we removed their items. The city doesn’t remove items outside of cemetery cleanup, which is Oct. 4 this year,” the spokesperson said.