Volunteers, community help Eastern Cemetery recover from theft

Volunteers, community help Eastern Cemetery recover from theft
A volunteer helps maintain Eastern Cemetery. (Source: WAVE 3 News)

LOUISVILLE, KY (WAVE) -  Friends of Eastern Cemetery volunteers spent Sunday morning constructing new lawn mowers. The replacements are meager compared to the equipment stolen a few days ago.

Last week, around $20,000 worth of equipment was stolen from Friends of Eastern Cemetery, the non-profit that maintains the cemetery grounds.

The stolen equipment took four years of fundraising to buy. The thieves took three commercial mowers, a four wheeler, trailer, chainsaws and several weed eaters, according to volunteers. The equipment was stolen in a matter of hours.

"That's a big blow to a small non-profit organization," volunteer Stefanie Bizan said. "It is all equipment that we need to replace."

Bizan is a part of Friends of Eastern Cemetery. She said the group was depending on the new equipment to spruce up the grounds for 'Wreaths Across American', a holiday event honoring veterans. Over 1000 veterans are buried at Eastern Cemetery.

Since Tuesday, the community has donated around five thousand dollars to Friends of Eastern Cemetery for new equipment.

Local landscapers are volunteering their equipment and time to help the cemetery recover.

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Wil Wishon, who is also a volunteer with Friends of Eastern Cemetery, said the groups needs thousands more to fully replace the stolen items, but he is hopeful for the future.

"We are going to keep on going though starting over essentially, but I think we will be right back at it as strong next season," Wishon said.

"We are so hopeful that they do find the people that took our equipment," Bizan said.

LMPD is still investigating the burglary. Bizan asks anyone who knows anything about the theft to contact police.

"It's horrible to steal from people who have donated their time and money, and it was taken away in a few hours," Wishon said.

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