SNOHOMISH COUNTY, Wash. - Nothing is sacred to thieves, including gravesites.
"We've been decorating graves up there all my life,” said Robbie Jonnet. She spent childhood weekends placing flowers at the Sultan cemetery where 11 relatives are now buried.
"For each of those headstones, I have a face and a life to remember,” said Jonnet.
She can’t count how much money her family has spent on arrangements for birthdays and holidays. Someone else is seeing the value in those flowers, too. Jonnet said several families who visit graves have had potted plants and bouquets stolen almost as soon as they are laid out.
"Especially around Memorial Day because the weather is better, and so people would just come up and steal the plants right off the graves,” said Jonnet.
Relatives have spoken to officers.
"We heard, and we saw in another letter to the editor, that these plants were going to yard sales for resale,” said Jonnet.
"That is -- that's like the lowest of the low,” said Vanetta Durham, who works at Stadium Flowers in Everett.
Funeral and cemetery flowers can run from several hundred to several thousands of dollars.
Jonnet said there’s no way to secure the centuries-old site from people who have little respect for a place of peace.
"It's very personal for me and for my poor mother who's 90. This just breaks her heart,” said Jonnet.
The Snohomish County Sheriff’s Office said they have heard about the flower thefts and are looking into the claims that they’re being resold at yard sales.