Mourners at cemetery fall prey to thieves

By Calvin Palmer

Mourners at a cemetery in Southern California are not only grieving over the loss of a loved one but when the service is over, they also grieve the loss of purses, laptops and other valuables.

Thieves are targeting Rose Hills Memorial Park and Mortuary in suburban Whittier, stealing valuables from the unlocked cars of people attending mortuary and graveside services.

This year, 26 thefts from cars at the 1,400-acre hillside graveyard have been reported. In 2008, 11 were reported.

Rose Hills officials and the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department are warning people to lock cars and leave valuables at home. Deputies are now patrolling the cemetery and distributing warning fliers.

Rose Hills visitor services manager Richard Hardy notes the cemetery is in the sprawling Los Angeles urban area and “whatever happens outside, happens inside a cemetery.”

[Based on a report by the Associated Press.]

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