Second person in a week falls victim to thieves stealing belongings at cemeteries

Posted at 3:28 PM, May 14, 2018
and last updated 2018-05-15 08:54:39-04

TULSA -- Thieves targeting mourners at area cemeteries have struck again, this time stealing a grieving widow’s car on Mother’s Day. 

2 Works for You first brought you the story on Wednesday of an elderly woman who visited her son’s grave and had her purse stolen. 

It was this story that brought staff members together at Memorial Park Cemetery to discuss ways to keep the grounds safe for patrons. On Monday, staff said they were shocked to learn a similar incident happened on Memorial Park grounds, especially on Mother’s Day.

“I parked along here and came over and cleaned his grave,” said Donna Thomas, the victim of the car theft.

Thomas had one last stop to make this Mother’s Day, visiting her husband, who passed away after his battle with cancer.

“I was doing great,” Thomas said. “I went to a great service at my daughter’a church and got to see a bunch of my grandkids.”

As she walked out to her husband’s grave, she reminisced on the days they spent together.

“He was a real special guy that my kids adored, the grandkids adored,” Thomas said.

As she paid her respects, laying a flower at his grave, she decided she’d do the same for other loved ones.

“I went on down the road to where his parents were buried and placed a flower on his mother’s grave,” Thomas said.

The last stop of her visit was her son-in-laws parent’s graveside, but as the day grew longer, Thomas said she grew hotter and started her car to cool off. 

“I had left my car running with the keys in it, which I don’t usually do, but it was a hot day yesterday,” she said.

Before Thomas knew it, her son-in-law showed up to meet her, but he looked puzzled. 

“They said ‘Where’s your car?’ And I said right over there,” Thomas said. “So I stepped back behind a tree and thought, OK I must have parked differently than I thought.”

But the car was gone. 

“I immediately picked up the phone and called police,” said Mike Leitch, Thomas’ son-in-law.

The woman's purse and phone were also inside the car, along with a new car seat meant for her grandchild. The thieves then charged thousands to her credit cards at the Tulsa Hills Best Buy, Target and Amazon. 

“Within 14 minutes they were gone and charging stuff,” Thomas said.

Her 2011 brown Toyota Venza, license plate BHJ734, is still missing. She believes the thieves were also driving in a white truck, but she isn’t worried.

“I believe God has got this,” Thomas said. “He knows exactly where they are.”

Police have been notified and the thieves are still on the loose. 

The director of the cemetery, Ronnie Felts, said his staff has heightened security and is on the lookout for any suspicious activity. He said he is deeply sorry for the Thomas family and will do whatever he can to make sure they are taken care of.

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