Upset family members check on gravesites at Sharon Hills

Sharon Hills Memorial Park was busy Tuesday afternoon as people checked gravesites of loved ones in the aftermath of charges being filed that the manager allegedly had approved the sell of brass urns at a scrap yard. (Delaware State News/Craig Anderson)

Sharon Hills Memorial Park was busy Tuesday afternoon as people checked gravesites of loved ones in the aftermath of charges being filed that the manager allegedly had approved the sell of brass urns at a scrap yard. (Delaware State News/Craig Anderson)

DOVER — Something was clearly amiss as a steady stream of vehicles entered the cemetery late Tuesday afternoon, slowly proceeding to gravesites throughout the property.

A Monday night police news release of recent arrests regarding alleged thefts of several brass urns from Sharon Hills Memorial Park just west of the city hit folks hard.

Several said they were checking on their loved ones’ resting spots after the Delaware State Police announced charges against four persons — the cemetery’s manager, her daughter and two employees including her son.

Vehicles were scattered throughout the park at a time when there’s rarely any traffic on a normal weekday, Camden-Wyoming resident Kenny Luff said. He counted 30 cars entering the park within a 15-minute stretch and reported steady arrivals during the first two hours he was there.

At 5 p.m., there were at least nine vehicles seen in the park located near the area of Del. 8 just west of Dover High School’s campus.

While Mr. Luff said he’s never experienced any issues in the 27 years he’s had family buried at Sharon Hills, he said a quick walk through the park revealed at least nine brass urns missing.

“The long, vertical square ones are gone,” he said. “It’s not so bad with the round ones.”

Regarding police claims of the possible thefts, his wife Denise described the situation as “disgusting.”

She followed with, “This place is where you come for privacy, it’s your private place to spend time in memory of someone you love, and it shouldn’t be disturbed this way.”

Echoing those thoughts was Bridgeville resident Donna Frazer as she stood near the burial plot of husband Dennis, who died in a truck driving accident in 2011.

“It’s sad,” she lamented.

“Why? It’s bad enough we have to put them there and never see them again. I can’t give him anything more but I would like to leave something here and then it goes and gets stolen.”

Ms. Frazier said she’s been victimized before by unknown perpetrators at the cemetery. She’s had an eternity light, among other items, stolen and law enforcement was unable to find the culprit.

“If the man wasn’t loved, I wouldn’t have put out all that money,” Ms. Frazier said.

With her emotions clearly rising, Ms. Frazier continued on with, “You can’t bring them back, you can’t bring them Christmas presents.

“So when you put them here you want to make sure you do show them signs of love.”

Walking briskly through Sharon Hills was Felton resident Melissa Finkbiner, whose grandfather has been buried there since 1950, along with “a whole bunch of cousins” who have seen their final resting place nearby since.

Ms. Finkbiner received a call from her mother and she went to check on her family’s plot. She reported that two markers were gone, continuing a trend of missing items she’s said has been happening for the past one or two years.

After her family put up a new flagpole and lights, a ceramic item and solar lights next to a site, she said only a few flowers were soon left.

“It’s disgusting,” she said. “Where are the morals today?”

Reach staff writer Craig Anderson at canderson@newszap.com

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