It’s the last thing you would expect to happen at a local cemetery– stealing decorations from a veteran’s final resting place– but one Tri-State family is facing just that.
At Bluff Hall cemetery in Adams County, Illinois, a small decorative statue commemorating the military service of Bryan Chapman went missing last week, shocking his family.
Until recently a decorative statue was part of his grave site. It was put there by his wife as a memorial for 37 years of service to our country.
But last week it went missing, his sister, Leona Loos, and family didn’t know what to do.
“[They] called me, to see if I had taken it, because sometimes I do take things and clean them for them and put them back,” said Loos
Luckily a post made on Facebook ended up getting shared over 500 times, and the right person ended up getting it back to them, but not everybody gets as lucky as this family did.
“It happens, unfortunately it happens much more than you want it to,” said Bruce Cannell, superintendent of Greenmount Cemetery in Quincy, “it’s not uncommon to have stuff stolen out here it’s fairly common, more stuff doesn’t get stolen, but you hear about the stuff that does get stolen.”
But he said there are preventative measures you can take.
“You put some sort of a marking on it or put some identification on it, put your name, telephone on it to make it obvious that it belonged to someone else,” said Cannell.
For now, Chapman’s family is keeping the statue in a safe place until they can secure it permanently, but Loos said it’s a shame it happened in the first place.
“Well I think it’s very sad, especially for someone who served his country for 37 years, what he’s done for us, and then someone would be a low life enough to take that statue that his wife put on for his memory,” said Loos.
Cannell said many cemeteries like his do not allow many kinds of decorative items, and the only sure way to make sure something with sentimental value doesn’t go missing– is to not put it out. But if you really want to, many companies who make memorials may offer services to attach certain items to graves.