Grave flower thief caught on camera - KFVS12 News & Weather Cape Girardeau, Carbondale, Poplar Bluff

Mulkeytown, IL

Grave flower thief caught on camera

Photograph taken by Laurel Bearden of alleged flower thief. Photograph taken by Laurel Bearden of alleged flower thief.
Laurel Bearden stands close to the flowers that were almost stolen from her brother-in-law's grave site. Laurel Bearden stands close to the flowers that were almost stolen from her brother-in-law's grave site.

Grave flower thief caught on camera
By: Carly O'Keefe

MULKYTOWN, Ill. - Laurel Bearden of Christopher always carries a digital camera in her purse. Monday, it came in handy when she caught a thief in the act of stealing the flowers off of her brother-in-law's fresh grave.

Tommy Hargis' funeral was Monday at 11 a.m. Bearden, Hargis' sister-in-law, came back to the Mulkeytown Cemetery to visit the grave at 2 p.m. At first she thought someone was coming to pay their respects, but that was definitely not the case. Bearden saw a grey-haired woman in a pink shirt stealing an armful of memorial flowers from Hargis' grave.

"My nephew came up (to her) and she kept saying 'Is this anything to you?' And he said, 'yes, this is my dad, and he ain't even been there two hours.' And then she threw them down and said, 'well here, take 'em," said Bearden.

Bearden shared the pictures she took with Franklin County State's Attorney's Office. Investigators say the woman in Bearden's digital photos is a suspect in a series of thefts from local cemeteries.

The flowers were returned to Tommy Hargis' grave, but Bearden says they should never have been removed in the first place. "Just because it's out here and supposedly public ground don't mean you can do whatever or take whatever," said Bearden.

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