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Father upset by thefts from daughter's grave
BARSTOW • Richard Harbin has been left dumbfounded as to how some people could take items away from a grave site.
Ever since Harbin’s nine-year-old daughter was laid to rest at the Barstow Cemetery two years ago, the family has noticed some decorative items missing. They have even found some of those items on other grave sites.
Some of the items that have gone missing are stuffed animals, lights, a tiara, wind-spinners and even flowers.
“Lately it has gotten really bad, we’ve had a lot of decorations gone missing,” an emotional Harbin said. “We put some little lights out. They were only a dollar each. It’s not the value of the items, it’s the sentiment of items being taken from my 9-year-old’s grave. It’s very pathetic that you go decorate a loved ones grave and people don’t care and take some stuff. It really gets on your nerves after a while.”
Ann Harbin’s life was tragically taken in July 2011 after she was accidentally shot by Justin DeBois. DeBois, a family friend, pleaded guilty to involuntary manslaughter and was sentenced to two years in jail.
The Harbin family tries to visit daily, and Harbin has even sat in his car hoping to see any kind of activity around his daughter’s grave site.
Every Wednesday, the family takes a basket and fills it with the decorative items to keep them safe when the grounds crew maintains the lawn on Thursday’s. The family then goes back out Thursday, after the lawn has been maintained, to put back those very same items.
The general manager of the cemetery was not immediately available for comment, but an employee said that there has been just one report of missing lights by a different family.
Harbin said after talking to the cemetery staff, he was told they cannot be held responsible for decorative items on the grave site. The employee confirmed the cemetery’s policy.
According Darin Lansdown of the San Bernardino County Sheriff’s Barstow Station, there have not been any reports of thefts at the cemetery.
Jose Quintero can be reached at 760-256-4122 or JQuintero@DesertDispatch.com.