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Police Who Catch Woman Stealing Flowers from Cemetery Make Dark Discovery About Her Day Job

The crime felt as if it was a violation to the people of Pompton Plains, New Jersey.

Flowers, plants, and various other items were disappearing from graves at the town’s First Reformed Church Cemetery.

As the Daily Record reports, the thefts had been going on for months when the Pequannock Police Department decided to launch a sting operation to catch the thief. They installed surveillance cameras outside a monument that holds urns and ashes. Then they put two plants out as “bait” and waited.

Only two days layer, the plants were gone. When police checked the surveillance video, they found footage of woman driving her minivan up to the cemetery and loading it with the plants.

Identifying the crook was rather easy. In fact, police in the town recognized her as 59-year-old Lynda Wingate, their former dispatcher. Police Captain Christopher DePuyt told CBS New York:

“Three officers in fact recognized her right away.”

But even more disturbing is what Wingate has been doing since she left her job as a police dispatcher. Wingate is a florist and the owner of LynCrafts & Floral Designs in Riverdale, New Jersey.

Wingate was charged with theft of movable property. However, she insists that she is not guilty and told CBS New York that it’s common for things to disappear from grave sites:

“I go through this at my mom’s grave all the time. Anything we put on, they’re gone.”

DePuyt acknowledged that the thefts weren’t high dollar value ones, but stressed that taking items from a cemetery had a real impact on the community. He told CBS New York:

“It’s not the crime of the century by any stretch, but it is preying on people who have suffered a loss.”

Local columnist Joe Phalon wrote in NorthJersey.com about how the victims of the cemetery thefts felt:

“One of the graves where flowers disappeared belonged to a very dear friend of mine. His family was heartbroken when the flowers, a small sign of their love for him, vanished several times.”

Wingate will appear in court in a few weeks. The report does not say whether she resold the stolen flowers and plants in her store.