Police: Pair stole Mother's Day flowers from grave

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Updated: 5/12 11:02 pm
BALLSTON SPA, N.Y. – Two people were arrested for allegedly stealing flowers from a grave site on Mother’s Day.

According to Ballston Spa Police, a complainant told police that he witnessed two people take flowers from his wife’s grave. He told police that he had placed the flowers on the grave for Mother’s Day only a few hours prior to the incident.

The man told police that he was visiting another grave when he witnessed the alleged theft.

That man is Janice Starteri’s fiancé. She said they had installed a hummingbird decoration and planted some new flowers at her parents’ grave Sunday. They then went home to relax until her fiancé went back to reseed the grass.

“It wasn’t three, three and a half hours later,” she said. “My fiancé goes to the grave site.”

That’s when he noticed something unusual.

“He had noticed that there was two individuals walking in the cemetery, and it appeared as if they were taking things from other graves,” Officer Bill Kitts with the Ballston Spa Police said.

He said the couple loaded the flowers into their pickup truck. Police said the man then followed the subjects to their home on Ballston Avenue and waited for police to arrive. 

Travis Lapell, 32, and Taiya Armer, 41, were arrested and charged with Petit Larceny.

“It’s sad, especially on Mother’s Day,” Kitts said. “It’s just disrespectful, and it’s something that’s not going to be tolerated at all.”

Police said additional charges may be filed. 

“If it was their mother, and they, from their heart bought them something really nice for them, and it was stolen, I don’t think they would feel very good about it,” Starteri said.

Starteri said she’s had items stolen from her parents’ grave site before. She hopes security cameras and signs are installed at the cemetery to deter people from similar acts in the future.

Authorities said they are asking that anyone who have had items taken from a grave site in the Ballston Spa Village Cemetery to contact the Ballston Spa Police Department at 518-885-5033

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