Couple caught stealing cemetery decorations

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ST. JOSEPH, Mo. — Last week, flowers and other decorations were stolen from several gravesites at the Mount Olivet Cemetery in St. Joseph.

St. Joseph police arrested Steve Estes, 61, and Janice Collado, 51, at their home on Tuesday.

“You have to ask yourself what is going on in people’s minds to steal things like this,” said Michael Meierhoffer, who works at nearby Meierhoffer Funeral Home.

“We think about what we are going to put up there for people to see when they come through,” said Tim Bartram, whose daughter’s gravesite was affected.

Two years ago, he placed flowers at his daughter’s grave, only to have them stolen as part of this recent string of thefts.

“For somebody that doesn’t know anything about her to go up and take stuff for no reason is just very disrespectful.”

A witness recently spotted the thieves, which allowed St. Joseph police to follow them to their home. When the police arrived, the suspects had flowers and other decorations scattered all over their yard.

“They didn’t really give any reason why,” said Gregg Lewis, a detective with the St. Joseph Police Department. “They just indicated they thought the flowers were free for the taking.”

Formal charges could be filed against the thieves as early as Wednesday.

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