How common is modern grave robbing?



In the Chicago area we had the horrible story about a local cemetery named Burr Oak.  The people running the place allegedly dug up the dead to make room for new graves, for a profit.  Is this a rare occurrence?  We assume our deceased loved ones are resting undisturbed.  But…how do we know?

Below is an article from the Chicago Sun-Times about the discovery of a human bone in another cemetery outside Chicago at Mount Glenwood cemetery.  After the tragedy at Burr Oak Cemetery, people are wondering if their deceased loved ones are safe.  Some of the comments in response to this online story are very interesting.  They include ghostly stuff!

Human bone found in Glenwood cemetery,w-glenwood-cemetery-human-bone-scandal-072509.article

A single human bone was discovered in this cemetery.  That might not seem very significant, but where did a human bone come from?  Human bones are not exactly something we find laying around.  If there is even one bone, it means it had to come from an entire skeleton. 

I wonder if grave robbing is more common then we imagine.  Is there a criminal enterprise we are unaware of in our cemeteries?  Is someone digging up the dead?  If not to resell the same plot for a profit, then perhaps for their grave goods.  Could someone who does not fear the dead seek any jewelry left behind with the deceased?  That is a chilling thought.  How do we know?

There are cemeteries that are in bad shape, abandoned or nearly abandoned.  I had a friend tell me about a cemetery where the homeless sleep at night, with trash scattered about.  In such places, anything can happen.  Who is roaming such places at night?

The threat of grave robbing might be a good reason to visit our deceased loved ones regularly.  If we often leave flowers behind, maybe a grave robber would likely leave that site alone.  There are plenty of graves that haven’t been visited in years, or decades.  This is what happened at Burr Oak Cemetery…the criminals victimized the graves nobody visited.  We all need to visit our deceased ones and lay flowers for them.  It really is the only protection we can offer them.


5 Responses to “How common is modern grave robbing?”

  1. Chinaren Says:

    When I’m put down I’m going to do an Indiana Jones tome, with deadly traps and so forth surrounding me.

    It’s the only way to go really.

  2. David Says:

    Hi Chinaren,
    No kidding. I like the idea of having a tombstone with a device inside that would open a wind tunnel after it rained a little, so it would make a ghostly howling sound. Imagine the stories that would create!

  3. Chinaren Says:

    ROFL! Awesome idea!

  4. junk0 Says:

    get serious, with all the real estate lying around with decaying dead bodies, i believe that cremation is a better way to go. Atleast you dont have anything to worry about ur departed family anymore.
    Besides all the sci-fi spooky stuff that u are thinking about wont make it to ur grave as u would be pretty much dead and i bet whatever family u got left would prefer grave robbery to spending a hefty buck to secure your crypt.

  5. Elizabeth Says:

    Anyone else find it funny that there’s a big stink about finding a bone in a graveyard? ;-P

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