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Flowers and pots that were placed at the graves of Patty Wicken's family members were stolen at Kinkead Cemetery in Alexandria over Memorial Day weekend. Her family wasn't the only one hit. Since writing about the theft on Facebook, Wicken has received several phone calls from others who were heartbroken about having flowers stolen. (Contributed photo)

Editorial - The lowest form of thievery strikes again

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editorials Alexandria,Minnesota 56308 http://www.echopress.com/sites/default/files/styles/square_300/public/fieldimages/8/0824/ncemetarystolenflowers.jpg?itok=zz8uGhoz
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Editorial - The lowest form of thievery strikes again
Alexandria Minnesota 225 7th Ave E
P.O. Box 549
56308

If thievery has a hierarchy, stealing flowers from a grave has to rank among the lowest.

Yet it happens all too often. And right here, throughout Douglas County, especially around Memorial Day time.

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Patty Wicken of Alexandria sent us the photo that accompanies this editorial. It shows the graves of her parents and sister-in-law where flowers were stolen early this Memorial Day. "I wish I had a 'before' photo," Wicken said. "They were all so beautiful."

Her family members subscribe to a care service from Anderson Florist. The shop picks up the planters in the fall, stores them over the winter, plants them and sets them out on the graves the week before Memorial Day.

There were planters robbed throughout the cemetery as happens every year around the county. In some instances, they took the entire planter or pot.

The ones from Anderson Florist are very heavy and very identifiable as Anderson's.

Wicken spoke with Ron Schneiderhan, the manager and caretaker of Kinkead Cemetery. She said he feels terrible, even though this kind of crime is completely beyond his control.

Are there ways to stop thieves from taking the pots and flowers? Wicken talked with Schneiderhan about installing field cameras accompanied by signs that say "protected by camera surveillance."

"Who knows what the answer is," Wicken said. "Maybe if the people who do this kind of thing know the pain it causes others it may give them a pang of conscience."

But she has her doubts. To commit a crime as low as stealing flowers from a grave shows they don't think much about what's right and wrong or the consequences of their actions.

Wicken said she and others hope the Echo Press will at least mention this trend. We did. Now, it's our hope that someone in the community will come forward, fess up or provide any information they may know about such crimes. Let's not let this kind of criminal behavior sink any lower.

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