'It's just so disrespectful': Mourners targeted by thieves during graveside service at cemetery

HOUSTON – The physical damage inflicted by car burglars who broke into Maggie Turner's car is easy to see.

Turner's was one of five cars burglarized. But what's worse, the thieves also did emotional harm. They struck at a cemetery in the middle of a graveside service.

"You're in shock," Turner said. "You're in shock."

Turner and other family were attending the burial of a relative Monday at Forest Park Lawndale Cemetery on Lawndale Street near I-45 and Alt 90 in southeast Houston. She says she decided to leave her purse in the car because the service wasn't expected to last long and besides -- they were in a cemetery.

When she and her husband made it back to the car, they discovered broken glass and realized her purse was missing.

"It's just so disrespectful to the person who's passed away and to their family," Turner says.  "That day should be about the family and the deceased."

A spokesperson tells Channel 2 in a statement, "We take the safety and security of our park very seriously, however, cemeteries are open to the public during normal business hours ... we were notified of car thefts in the parking lot ... and local law enforcement was notified immediately. We encourage any family who experiences a theft or has similar concerns to contact the cemetery office."

Turner lost her cellphone, credit cards, driver's license and more.  She's not blaming the cemetery but the thieves themselves.

"It's just wrong. And why would you take advantage of a family that's already grieving?" she said. "It's just wrong to do something like that."

Investigators said the thieves tried to charge $500 on Turner's credit and debit cards.  Anyone with information about the break-ins is asked to contact Harris County Precinct 6.

About the Author: