DEKALB COUNTY, ALABAMA— A 69-year-old woman has been arrested and charged with stealing multiple floral arrangements from gravesites in DeKalb County.

Old woman laying flowers on a grave
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Woman Arrested for Stealing Floral Arrangements from Gravesites in DeKalb County

Martha Jane Bowes was taken into custody on Thursday, May 18, following an investigation into the theft of Decoration Day flowers from a family gravesite at Painter Liberty Baptist Cemetery. Bowes faces charges of fourth-degree theft of property and desecration of a gravesite, according to DeKalb County Sheriff Nick Welden.

The investigation began when the DeKalb County Sheriff’s Office (DCSO) received a report on May 26 about stolen Decoration Day flowers. The victim, who had previously experienced thefts from the same gravesite, had installed cameras that captured footage of a woman stealing two handmade floral arrangements on the morning of May 16. This footage led investigators to identify Bowes as the suspect.

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Investigating The Home Of The Flower Thief

On Friday, May 17, a search warrant was executed at Bowes's home in Hammondville, with assistance from the Valley Head and Mentone Police Departments. During the search, the victim's floral arrangements were recovered along with 31 other floral decorations. These arrangements have since been returned to their rightful owners.

On May 18, an investigator contacted Bowes, who claimed she was in Mississippi and would not return to DeKalb County until Wednesday. However, investigators later found out that Bowes was actually in Fort Payne. Deputies arrested her at a residence in Fort Payne around 7 p.m. that evening. She was transported to the DeKalb County Detention Center on charges of theft and gravesite desecration, as well as for two outstanding failure-to-appear warrants.

Photos of the recovered floral decorations have been released. The DCSO urges anyone who believes they may be a victim of similar thefts to contact their office with proof of ownership. The Sheriff’s Office can be reached from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m., Monday through Friday.

Are You A Victim Of This Crime?

If you have been a victim of a similar theft and have proof that one of the arrangements pictured above is yours, you can contact the DeKalb County Sheriff’s Office from 8 a.m. through 4 p.m., Monday through Friday.

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