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'The grave site is violated': 75-year-old carjacked in Milwaukee cemetery

Posted: 10:33 PM, Jan 29, 2018
Updated: 2018-01-30 12:11:03-05

A 75-year-old man was carjacked in a cemetery on Milwaukee's north side in the middle of the day earlier this month.

Dale Laabs, the victim, said he hopes others learn to be aware, even in the most unlikely places. 

"I feel I was violated and my wife was violated," Laabs said. "The grave site is violated." 

Almost every day, Laabs visits his wife's grave at Valhalla Memorial Park. On Jan. 11 he was reading there when two men struck up a conversation about their father passing away the day before.

"I just said you have my condolences," Laabs said.

After asking about the cost of a grave, they had another question.

"'Hey is that your car?' and like a dummy, I said 'yeah.' I should have said 'no,'" Laabs said.

It started to rain and he headed for his car. When Laabs got in, a man opened the passenger door and said he had a gun.

"And my reply was, 'Do what you want to do. I'm 75 years old. I don't give a crap what you do anymore'," Laabs said.

Laabs said he let go of his steering wheel for a split second.

"The young jerk put a hand on the collar of my coat, had a hand there, yanked me out of the car, threw me to the ground, tried to stomp on me, but he missed and then they both got in the car and away they drove," Laabs said.

Similar crimes happened at Valhalla in November 2016.  Scripps station WTMJ in Milwaukee couldn't reach the owner, but it appears they added surveillance cameras and locked the second gate. 

Police said two men, 17 and 21, have been arrested in connection with this carjacking.

"All that while visiting my wife at the cemetery, a sacred place to me, a safe place to me. Some people don't have a conscious," Laabs said.

The District Attorney's Office is reviewing the case.