Alas, Poor Forest Hills

August 21st, 2008 by Harrumpher Leave a reply »

No longer…

The Walk Hill Gate of the Forest Hills Cemetery has been open for the past two days. Considering that the office staff figured it would be a couple of weeks after the bronze thefts from a mausoleum and the sculpture collection before we could enter there, that’s good news.

What’s not good is that anyone would steal from a cemetery (kind of puts the ephemeral in perpetual care as it were). Moreover, that such nogoodniks would take part of tombs is horrific.

Local The Bulletin papers carried the story on today’s edition.  They verify that there’s a $2,000 reward for info leading to recovery of the pieces. We can hope that the publicity 1) would make the thieves rethink the risk and dump the pieces where the cops can find them, 2) that the notoriety inspires any fence or antiques dealer to turn the loot over and report the perps, or 3) that whatever vestige of morality the thief or thieves have kicks in, leading them to bring the spoils back to this gorgeous garden of the dead.

We abutters who use Forest Hills as our park, for our recreation, for our edification through their programs, and with an eye for it as our final resting/rotting places are aghast. Stealing from the dead! Stealing public art!

Yet, in keeping with the staff’s thought that the rising prices of bronze and brass prompted these thefts, USA Today ran a feature reporting just that.  They cite cases in Chicago, Maryland and Delaware — mausoleum gates, urns, ornaments and memorial plates, all gone.

Some thieves tuck these into bins of bronze or brass. Others try to pass them off as folk art instead of what they are. The trade association the Institute of Scrap Recycling Industries urges its members to record all transactions with ID, refuse clearly stolen material, and work with the police.  One of the successes it cites is a Fort Wayne company whose efforts led to 161 arrests.

I miss the Garden’s Edge bunny and am sorely sorry that the unique (not from casting) Seated Ceres is gone.  May they be home to my neighborhood soon.

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