Families devastated after thieves steal trees from cemetery

New Mexico

SOCORRO COUNTY, N.M. (KRQE) – Thieves have hit a New Mexico cemetery. They weren’t after expensive headstones, they took trees.

When the Baca family arrived Wednesday morning to pay their respects to a family member who died three years ago, a tree was missing. They’ve since replaced the tree, but are heartbroken it happened.

“All the flowers that were around that tree, they took them out and put them in here,” Eva Baca said.

Baca is combing through her late husband’s gravesite along with her daughter-in-law, Destiny. They’re picking up the pieces to Lino Baca’s plot after something very insensitive happened.

“This morning when I came, one of the trees was gone, dug up…and the other two, there was some dirt dug up but they didn’t take them,” Baca said. “They were all just a mess, took all the rocks off, the bricks, the lights.”

Sadly, they weren’t the only targets. After Paul Silva heard the news the thieves took a small tree from his family plot, he wanted to see it for himself.

“It’s devastating, but at the same time, angry, but devastating at the same time to see the destruction,” Silva said. “It’s like a tree, but it means a lot because it was planted for my parents.”

For Silva, the crime has him hesitating to get another tree. For the Bacas, they planted a new tree, hoping it brings new life to Lino’s memory.

“It’s just like replacing that big hole with something new. God might have had something to do with it and we’re gonna start over and try again,” she said.

The families say they don’t know when the thieves came or why they only took the trees, but the church that oversees this cemetery might start locking up to prevent more problems in the future. The families, however, worry it won’t be enough.

The Socorro County Sheriff’s Department is looking into this, but they need some tips from the public.

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