AT THE beginning of a New Year when families often go to visit loved ones graves, gardai are warning visitors not to leave anything in their cars.
Last September, a Kildare family who returned to Abington cemetery to inter the ashes of a woman originally from Murroe had their cars broken into during the service. While in December cars belonging to grieving relatives of a little boy had valuables taken from their vehicles.
Sergeant Helen Holden, based in Cappamore, said there is a trend of criminals targeting graveyards.
“It is one of the key places where these opportunist criminals target. They drive around from graveyard to graveyard. Every graveyard that they go past they will pull up and have a look in the window of an empty vehicle,” said Sergeant Holden. Gardai have got reports from witnesses of their behaviour.
“Say for an example a black Volvo was seen outside a cemetery. A husband would sit in the car and let his wife go into the grave or vice versa. They say that two fellows went around systematically checking each car and maybe later on that day that same black Volvo would be seen at a graveyard 20, 30, or 40 miles away,” said Sgt Holden.
The garda advice is clear - do not leave anything in your car.
“If a handbag is on view or even a jacket they will smash the windows because they will say there is a chance there is a wallet in the jacket or a purse in the handbag with cash in it,” said Sgt Holden.
After the Doon crime, Fr Tony Ryan said people will have to be vigilant.
“It is very sad that they have to do this. It is a lovely tradition of going into the cemetery and praying for their dead. People will feel under pressure to keep an eye on their cars while they remember their departed loved ones. It is dreadful and intolerable behaviour.”