Fake Cemetery put up to keep vagrants away

3 headstones at busy intersection

HOUSTON - The three headstones sit in one of the busiest intersections in downtown Houston, just across the street from the old police station at 61 Reisner. They are in a well tended corner lot, surrounded by a wrought iron fence.

The oldest headstone dates back to 1973, but it's none of them are real.

"Well, we say what the heck, there must have been bodies buried there the whole time, but there wasn't," said Fernando Davila, owner of a wrecker company in the area.

Davila said he and others were surprised when the little cemetery suddenly appeared on the corner a couple of years ago.

Davila said the street corner used to be a mess, and that the fake headstones are a decoy to keep vagrants and street people from loitering on the property.

"Homeless people used to bring their backpacks and sleep here, and people used to eat here," said Davila. "They had houses and tins and things like that. And they wouldn't take the trash out."

The property is owned by Houston attorney Albert Bel Fay Jr., who's office is right next door. An employee of the attorney confirmed that Mr. Fay put in the cemetery.

Mr. Fay wouldn't comment, but his counterfeit cemetery appears to be working.

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