Thieves have been known to target vehicles at cemeteries that often are left wide open by mourners paying their respects nearby.

This time over the Father’s Day weekend, they struck again at Fort Sam Houston National Cemetery where Kelly Hamilton of Austin paid her first visit at her dad’s gravesite since his death eight months ago.

Hamilton said, “I did mention to my husband, ‘Why are you leaving the windows down?’”

Many others were doing the same in the sweltering heat.

Hamilton said she thinks the thieves were watching her family.

“I have the balloons. I have the kids,” she said. “They went straight to my front seat. My purse was right there.”

Hamilton said she didn’t realize until 15 minutes later when they returned to their car.

She said her first thought was her purse was gone.

Hamilton said she then was struck by disbelief, “There’s no way my purse got stolen at a cemetery.”

She said she learned the thieves apparently went straight to two nearby pharmacies to use her credit card.

Hamilton said even while she was on the phone with the credit card company, “They asked me if I was at Home Depot and if I was charging $1,000, and I said, no!”

She said within 20 minutes someone had charged $2,500 on her credit card.

Hamilton said she is hoping surveillance videos will help identify the culprits, who may be the same ones from a similar incident at the National Cemetery last March.

After some initial confusion as to who had jurisdiction, Hamilton said she was able to file a report with SAPD.

“I just think these people need to be called out,” Hamilton said.

She said what they did was disrespectful to her father, Nathan Norman Fuller who served in the U.S. Marines, and the other veterans buried at the National Cemetery.

Fort Sam Houston’s policy is due to the open nature of the cemetery, they cannot guarantee against theft or vandalism. 

For a list of recent stories Jessie Degollado has done, click here.