People outraged after local cemetery cleans grave decorations into trash bags without warning

SCRANTON (KSNT) – A Scranton cemetery is facing controversy after dozens of gravestone decorations were collected without warning and crammed into trash bags for people to sort through.

Typically after Memorial Day, graveyards will set a date for decorations to be claimed. For the people whose things were taken away two days before the cleanup deadline, they in some cases lost hundreds of dollars. But it’s more than just a financial burden.

Jeff Payne is just one of those people, who told KSNT News the move was disrespectful and tacky. Officials tell them that this was an accident, made by a volunteer. But they said the decision to pile things into garbage bags, with no regard for breakage or stealing, is the bigger issue.

“Their memories just been desecrated because they wanted to get in a hurry to mow, c’mon now,” Payne said.

Glenda Graham’s husband and father-in-law are two of the military veterans buried there.

“Why can’t you treat our family with the respect that you expect us to treat your family with?” Graham said. “If we don’t speak up for the people that are buried here, and how we feel about it, what are we supposed to do?”

Other people have come forward with similar stories as well. One Topeka woman claimed metal flags for Memorial Day were bent when they retrieved them in the bags. She also said an apology was put out on the city website but has since been taken down. It is unclear why.

KSNT News tried to track down members of the cemetery board, but could not make contact. The City of Scranton told KSNT that the situation was a mix-up.