A full 80% of Americans report that receiving flowers makes them feel happy. However, the story behind one New Jersey florist’s flowers is a bit distressing and morbid and is making one community cringe.
Lynda S. Wingate, 59, has been arrested for stealing floral arrangements off tombstones in the First Reformed Church Cemetery in Pompton Plains. The floral shop owner was caught on video robbing these graves of multiple different bouquets and small items over the past few months.
As reported on NewJersey.com, dozens of floral arrangements were reported as stolen throughout the winter months, so the cemetery officials decided to install cameras to see if they could figure out what was going on. At first, the cemetery would replace the missing flower arrangements, but then when they noticed the flowers would be gone a few days later, they knew something illegal was going on.
Within a couple days, Wingate was caught quickly loading numerous arrangements into her minivan and driving away in a rush. When confronted, she merely explained she was cleaning off the graves of some loved ones, but police quickly determined that was not the case.
Wingate’s crime has shaken a lot of New Jersey residents as her theft proves even cemeteries aren’t sacred places. Capt. Christopher DePuyt explains to News 4, “It’s not the crime of the century. It’s a minor crime, but one that shocks the conscience, and it won’t be tolerated.”
The florist was arrested on the charge of theft of moveable property and was eventually released under the agreement she would appear in municipal court in a few weeks.
At the time of publication, the Pequannock Police department has not released whether Wingate sold the stolen flowers at her floral shop, the number of flowers she stole over the past few months, or if the missing flowers were returned to their rightful owners.