Residents angered by grave robberies

Published 6:07 pm Monday, April 19, 2004

By By Arthur McLean Editor
Jewel Singleton is continuing on her mission to find the people responsible for stealing artifacts from her son's grave.
Over the course of several months, several items were stolen from Darrall Walker's grave, Walker, was a 17-year-old student at Northview High School when he was killed in a car accident.
Fed up with the thefts from her son's grave, Singleton began offering a reward for the capture of those responsible.
It seems Singleton is not alone. Since her story appeared in the Atmore Advance, Singleton said she has been contacted by a number of people in the community saying they too have had items stolen from the graves of loved ones at Oak Hill Cemetery north of Atmore.
Some have offered to help the reward money as well. Right now, Singleton's reward has grown to $250 for the apprehension of the grave robbers.
"I'm hearing from so many people who've had the same thing happen to them, and it's just not right," Singleton said.
Singleton said she is in the process of contacting local banks to set up an official account for the reward money.
She is also considering the installation of a security camera to monitor the part of the cemetery where her son is buried.
The Atmore Police Department has stepped up its nighttime and weekend patrols of the cemetery, said Police Chief Jason Dean.
"Unfortunately, this has been a problem for some time, and we are aware of it," Dean said. "We've increased our patrols in the cemetery at night and on the weekends, and there are city crews working and watching during the day."
The cemetery's size and openness, with no way to physically secure the property – like a fence – makes it an attractive target for thieves, Dean said.

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