For most people going to the cemetery to visit lost loved ones is an emotional, special time and its also the last place they expect to find theft or any other disrespect for their dearly departed.
Mary Williams and her son Andry Ranstrom have been stunned by the recent theft of artificial flowers they left at their family gravesite at the Santa Maria Cemetery.
“This is a crime, people shouldn’t steal flowers”, Mary Williams says, “there are loved ones out here besides me, I feel for them also, for the last 11 years I’ve been out here this is the first time its happened.”
Williams says they reported the theft to the Cemetery District Office and were told there’s not much that can be done to stop people from committing what is a crime other than catching them in the act.
“This place should be more secure and actually this should be totally unnecessary”, Andy Ranstrom says, “but its happening, if we look around at different areas of different gravesites I’m sure, I don’t know if the loved ones have taken them off, somebody else has taken them off, through the night or in the early morning hours, they need to do something about this to make it stop.”
Santa Maria Cemetery District Management says it does have the capability to install a security camera system and relies on Santa Maria Police and its own security firm to monitor the 50 acres of the cemetery district around the clock.
Cemetery District management also relies on the common sense and common decency of the general public not to disrespect cemetery grounds by stealing items from gravesites.
The Williams family wants greater public awareness about what is a senseless but painful crime.
“Yes I think so, I do”, Mary Williams says, “it’s a crime, its just like if you stole a candy bar out of the store, you know.”