Thieves are stealing valuables from the cars of visitors at Restland Cemetery in Far North Dallas, sometimes getting away with thousands of dollars worth of property while mourners are mere feet away.
On Monday, Dallas Police Lt. Regina Smith reported she was robbed while visiting the grave of her husband, fallen Sr. Cpl. Norm Smith. Smith says she was 30 feet away from her car at Restland when a thief quietly broke in, stealing more than $3,000 of her property.
Now, a second victim who wants her identity protected said it also happened to her.
"I felt sorry for the victim and we should believe her and it can happen because it happened to me," she said.
The new victim says she was at her son's grave last March when a thief broke into her car, which was also parked about 30 feet away. He stole her purse and jewelry and later ran up $20,000 in credit card charges.
The thief has not been caught. She says despite repeated attempts, Restland officials have done little or nothing to enhance security.
"And I called probably through May of 2012. They were just not responsive," she said. "No response to my letter and all I asked was 'what type of preventive communication do you have for visitors and for loyal customers of Restland.'"
News 8 has now learned of other reported car break-ins at Restland, including three in the past four weeks and at least four total in 2012. Whoever is responsible is making off with tens of thousands of dollars in cash, credit cards, purses, cell phones and jewelry.
Restland officials first told News 8 they were unaware of any burglary issues. On Wednesday, Restland Executive Director Michael Wilfong issued this statement:
"At Restland of Dallas, our top priority is serving families. We appreciate that these occurrences were brought to our attention. This is an unfortunate situation, and we will assist local law enforcement in any way we can with these occurrences, and to help prevent future incidents. Because thefts can occur anywhere, even in a sacred location such as our cemetery, we encourage visitors to be vigilant, lock their vehicle doors, and not leave valuable items in plain sight. We ask that visitors please contact us if we can assist them in any way".
One sign is posted at one entrance warning visitors to lock their cars. But the victim who asked to remain anonymous wants to know why there aren't security cameras, security patrol or prevention from the next incident.
“'Right now I'm not safe,” said the victim. “I don't feel safe."
In three of the four cases, the Restland Cemetery break-ins have occurred on the weekends. The victim News 8 spoke to believes the thief will strike at a busy time and is obviously skilled at what they are doing.