PITTSBURGH (KDKA) –The sanctity of a local cemetery has been violated.

A woman’s visit to her son’s grave ended in heartbreak when she discovered that thieves had ripped off markers, flags and flowers buried in the ground.

In a five year period there have been nearly 100 incidents reported to police at local cemeteries.

It was a special day for Jan and Bill Glunk. They went to Calvary Cemetery to visit their son’s grave. They place a happy birthday sign on the family headstone with a special message placed at its base.

“’If you feel the need to take anything placed upon this grave, just remember He will know and you will answer to Him someday.’ At the bottom, I put ‘Thou shall not steal,’” said Jan Glunk.

Paul Glunk, 22, was killed in a car accident six years ago. He’s buried in the family plot with his grandparents and his aunt.

In the last few visits, family members have found thieves got here first.

“I can’t imagine people are that hard up,” said Jan. “They’re taking flowers out of the ground, taking flags for celebrating people’s birthdays, and selling them at flea markets.”

Police confirm they made arrests for a similar theft at the cemetery a couple of years ago.

Investigators also point out cemeteries have been frequent targets for thieves in recent years.

Five years ago, more than a dozen purses were stolen out of cars as people visited grave sites. There have been at least 100 criminal reports filed regarding cemetery crimes around the city since then.

The folks at the Catholic Cemeteries Association say police patrol as much as they can, and they also say they have private security.

However, they advise people not to put anything of value at the graves. Sadly, they say cemeteries across the country have seen an increase in criminal activity.

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