Possible flower bandit hits Punchbowl Cemetery - Hawaii News Now - KGMB and KHNL

Possible flower bandit hits Punchbowl Cemetery

Ralph Sato Ralph Sato
Gene Castagnetti Gene Castagnetti

By Holly Juscen – bio | email

HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) -- Ralph Sato calls it sacrilegious and wonders how someone could steal flowers from his mother's grave, "Just three days ago my wife again came up here to put new flowers and the flowers are missing...and she ran in to the 3 ladies that have the same problem -- they had bought new flowers," says Sato.

Sato's mother was laid to rest at Punchbowl Cemetery last year. Sato visits her grave at least once a week and says the problem started in December. He fears the economy may be to blame, the culprit may be stealing flowers to resell for profit.

Sato notified cemetery officials but the flowers continue to vanish. The area where this is happening in near the marble niches where the urns are buried. Cemetery director, Gene Castagnetti, doesn't believe there is a flowers bandit, "I don't know of anyone in the 21 years that I have been here that anyone has stolen flowers to resale or for to use elsewhere."

Castagnetti say he has not received any formal complaints of flowers arrangements missing, and was not aware of Mr. Satos concerns, "there might have been a situation where someone may have borrowed the flowers to put on their own niche if they came unprepared."

There is a security guard on sight during cemetery business hours and the gates are locked at night. Castagnetti says they will be in high alert starting Tuesday, as family are allowed to drop off potted plants and artificial flowers at gravesites for the Easter holiday.

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