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Thieves Target Mourners At National Cemetery

A Denver woman hopes her story will remind the community that theft can happen in the most unlikely places."Al...

Posted: Jun 12, 2018 5:10 AM
Updated: Jun 12, 2018 5:10 AM

A Denver woman hopes her story will remind the community that theft can happen in the most unlikely places.

"Always lock your car. Always. I always lock my car and it was a lapse in judgement in my part," said Barb Shea.

Shea, 68, was visiting her late husband's gravesite and locking her car slipped her mind. She parked less than 100 feet away and planned to spend no more than 15 minutes visiting.

"When I got up and went back to my car, my purse was gone," Shea continued, "How violated I felt. I mean, very violated. Like the lowest of the low… who would do this? I mean, who would do this really?"

Her husband Michael, a Viet Nam Veteran, passed away 10 years ago. Shea comes to Fort Morgan and sits next to his headstone every year, about five times a year.

"I talk to him and tell him about the grandson that's coming in October…"

She laughs thinking about what Michael might say about the incident if he were alive, "He'd probably say, 'If I find out who did this I would kick their ass!' He would! Viet Nam? How could you not be tough when you're in a war?"

Shea wasn't feeling so tough on Friday.

"People just prey on people that are vulnerable. Everybody that comes here is just thinking about their loved ones. You're in a somber mood, you're reflecting."

Shea isn't the only one who has been victim to theft at Fort Morgan. The same day her purse was stolen, someone stole a car from an Honor Guard attending a funeral.

Denver police are investigating the incidents and say there were two other cases of theft reported in May.

The Fort Logan National Cemetery Assistant Director Kevin Johnson says he has noticed a trend. He has personally been patrolling because of a rise in cases of theft, mostly due to unlocked cars.

While the unlocked doors present an opportunity for criminals, Johnson says he has never seen this happen at other cemeteries.

"I've worked at a lot of cemeteries before across the nation and I've never seen this before. It's despicable," said Johnson.

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