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UPDATE: Rock Co. church dealing with cemetery thieves

By: Max Hess - Email
By: Max Hess - Email

UPDATED Wednesday, June 25, 2014 -- 4:52 p.m.

Captain Jude Mauer with the Rock County Sheriff's Office responded to an inquiry by NBC15 in regard to cemetery thefts.

He confirmed that deputies responded to a report of grave accessories and solar lights being stolen at Luther Valley Cemetery.

So far, nobody has been caught, and Mauer said deputies will continue to monitor the area closely.

A total of five families reported theft to the church, according to Mauer.

Mauer arranged for the church to publish a notice in their weekly bulletin asking all thefts to be reported to the Rock County Sheriff's Office.

He also said he has not received any reports of thefts at other cemeteries.

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Posted Tuesday, June 24, 2014 -- 10:00 p.m.

Dawn Wells describes her mom, who passed away in a crash six years ago, as she stares down at her grave at the Luther Valley Cemetery near Beloit.

"She had a great laugh, she was always there for her kids, she loved to fish, hunt, she loved flowering... she was awesome to us."

The cemetery is in the quiet country side, away from civilization and with more than enough peace for the dead.

You'd never think that peace would be disrupted overnight.

"They're taking things from people who aren't alive, how do you do that?," Dawn asks.

She says the cemetery is battling thieves who are stealing anything from flower pots to veteran plaques -- and her mom's grave wasn't left out.

Dan Olson, Dawn's step-dad and member of the cemetery board, says he just doesn't understand.

"People [are] calling because they're losing their flowers and vases, solar lights... you know it, they've been down here taking it."

Dan's ancestors came over from Scandinavia to found the church community all the way in 1844.

He says he's proud, but now he's also mad.

"It's the lowest of low in my book," he said.

Dawn, who says she was very close to her mom and used the cemetery as a way to talk, pray and connect with her -- wants answers.

"Seeing them gone, and knowing that they're not there anymore... its just heartbreaking."

The Rock County Sheriff's Office responded to a call by Dawn's sister, but told her there isn't much they can do.

They will be patrolling the area at night.

NBC15 reached out to the Sheriff's Office for comment, but has not yet heard back.


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