London police seeking female caught on video stealing flowers from grave at St. Peter's Cemetery

Azzura Lalani

By Azzura Lalani, The London Free Press

Burying her mother in the spring left Marg Medeiros with a heavy heart.

But her pain over the loss of a loved one has given way to anger that mementoes left at her mother’s grave at St. Peter’s Cemetery have been stolen — the latest theft recorded by a hidden camera and posted on Facebook.

“It’s hell, I have to tell you, going to the cemetery and seeing the empty holes when you’re expecting to water flowers,” Medeiros said Friday.

Fed up by the thefts that began after her mother Alma Allerston was buried in April, Medeiros installed a camera on the branch of a nearby tree on Wednesday.

The camera recorded a female wearing a hoodie and shorts ripping flowers in front of the gravestone out of the ground and putting them in a cardboard box. The woman, who appears to be in her 20s, then runs away.

Meideiros turned the video over to police and filed a report on the theft. She estimates it’s the 16th time her mom’s grave has been stripped bare.

“It’s obviously personal,” she said. “We have a large family. Originally I wanted to put it on Facebook to show all the family members to see if anybody knew her.”

The video had been shared more than 20,000 times by Friday evening and prompted someone to leave a pot of pink mums at the grave that Medeiros planted.

It was a small act of kindness after months of indignities for the large family Allerston left behind. She had eight children, 13 grandchildren and more than 20 great grandkids.

“Everyone loved her, my goodness,” Medeiros said.

The thefts started shortly after Allerston was buried at St. Peter’s.

First, it was mementos and knick-knacks carefully placed on the grave by family members that went missing.

Then it was handmade wooden plaques. The family would put them on the grave only to return and find them gone.

Medeiros chalked it up to St. Peter’s being an open cemetery, and figured people saw things they liked and took them.

Then the family started planting flowers in June.

The result was the same: gorgeous flowers, planted in memory of her mother, ripped from the earth by an unknown thief.

“I’m talking planted in the ground pulled it,” Medeiros said.

Officials at St. Peter’s Cemetery couldn’t be reached for comment.

London police are asking for the public’s help to find the suspect, described as a slim woman in her 20s, about five feet five inches tall with dyed blond hair and dark roots.

“I would say it’s unusual for one grave site to be targeted,” police spokesperson Const. Alanna Hollywood said.

Medeiros said the thefts are taking a toll on her and her family.

“I need time to grieve.”

- With files from Free Press Reporter Craig Glover



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