Lawn­wood se­cure

The Covington News - - Opinion - Adam Cooper Man­ager, Lawn­wood Me­mo­rial Park

Dear Edi­tor: As man­ager of Lawn­wood, I would like to shed some light on your ar­ti­cle from Fri­day (Vases stolen from tomb­stones) by mak­ing peo­ple aware that we are do­ing some­thing con­cern­ing thefts.

We have filed re­ports with the Newton County Sher­iff’s depart­ment on the three most re­cent in­stances of theft, ear­lier in­stances were much smaller, less than 10 vases, and were han­dled in­ter­nally. In each in­stance we are told that they will step up pa­trols and I have con­fi­dence in the sher­iff that that is com­mu­ni­cated to the deputies.

Lawn­wood does em­ploy an off-duty deputy to make pe­ri­odic checks through the ceme­tery at night. He has our per­mis­sion and it has been re­layed to the sher­iff’s depart­ment that any­one on the grounds of Lawn­wood af­ter 9 p.m. may be stopped and ques­tioned and will be asked to leave for their safety and the safety of the fam­i­lies that use Lawn­wood.

Fif­teen per­cent of ev­ery lot pur­chased in Lawn­wood goes into an ir­rev­o­ca­ble trust fund as re­quired by State law to make sure that the ceme­tery is taken care of if we were to ever go out of busi- ness. The Sec­re­tary of State’s of­fice has told us that we are not re­spon­si­ble for the re­place­ment of van­dal­ized or stolen items and they will not al­low us to use any of those funds to re­place items that are van­dal­ized or stolen.

Lawn­wood fam­i­lies have had vases stolen just five times in al­most 57 years. Each time, we have re­paired or re­placed items at our cost, but it is not eco­nom­i­cally fea­si­ble to con­tinue to do that in to­day’s econ­omy (each vase is ac­tu­ally val­ued at $278). This is with­out a doubt the largest theft of vases we have ever ex­pe­ri­enced. That is why we have tried to find a lower cost vase al­ter­na­tive that is made of zinc (worth­less if stolen) so that the fam­i­lies that have trusted us with their loved ones are not faced with a huge eco­nomic hit to their own per­sonal fi­nances.

I am cur­rently in con­tact with our in­surance car­rier to see what our op­tions are un­der our poli­cies and it is my hope that they will be able to help us re­place some or all of the vases at no charge to the fam­i­lies. Those fam­i­lies that can­not wait for that de­ci­sion have the op­por­tu­nity to pur­chase one of the lower cost vases.

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