It’s a place where people go to grieve and remember, but this week Clinton Township Police are investigating two robberies at two local cemeteries and they believe the culprit will strike again.
Resurrection Cemetery in Clinton Township is where Sterling Heights resident Connie Reick can be found several times a week – visiting her passed loved ones and tending to their flowers. That’s exactly what she was doing in late July when she was robbed.
“I threw my keys in my pocket, shut my door, grabbed my watering can and did my work tending to the flowers,” said Reick. “While I was at the graves, I noticed a small black car pull up right next to mine and I thought that car shouldn’t be there because he was blocking traffic. Then I saw him standing at a grave hands crossed looking solemn and didn’t think anything of it.”
Reick's gut instinct was right. When she walked away from her car, she threw her purse on the front seat. She was in a rush and forgot to lock the door. When she came back, her purse was gone.
“I noticed the gaping hole on the seat where my purse should have been,” she said. “I immediately knew what happened and I was devastated.”
Resurrection wasn’t the only cemetery this robber hit. That weekend, a 66-year-old woman from Mt. Clemens was visiting her husband’s grave at Clinton Grove Cemetery on Cass when her car window was smashed, her purse stolen.
“We believe these robberies are connected,” said Lt. Eric Reincke of Clinton Township police. “Both victims have described the robber as a white man in his mid-20s, driving a black car, possibly even a Mustang-body style."
Two checkbooks, a wallet, and more than $100 in cash was inside of Connie’s purse that day but also something that couldn’t be replaced.
“My mother just died in February and in my wallet I carried around my favorite picture of her when she was 18,” Reick said. “That’s irreplaceable.”
“If he did it twice and got away with it, he’ll do it again,” said Reincke. “We’ve alerted all of the cemeteries in our area to be on the lookout.”
If you have any information, you’re asked to call Clinton Township police.
Resurrection Cemetery released this statement regarding the incident:
On July 26, Resurrection Cemetery was notified by one of our visitors that a personal item had been stolen from her unlocked vehicle on our grounds. We spoke with the woman and encouraged her to file a police report with the Clinton Township Police Department, which we understand happened a few days later.
Any questions on this theft should be directed to the Clinton Township Police, who we are working with in this matter.
It should be noted that this is the first reported theft of personal property on the grounds of Resurrection in well over a decade. We are very proactive about security at Resurrection as we have security cameras throughout the property and security personnel on site 7 days a week.
Mike Scott - Director of Marketing
Mt. Elliott Cemetery Association