Thursday, December 23, 2004
That's Just Wrong: Stolen Mementos
We've all seen roadside memorial markers before. But for two local families, decorating their memorial is a holiday tradition that's suddenly being tarnished. In tonight's that's just wrong, 7's Craig Stevens shows how these families are being violated by a complete stranger.
WSVN -- Every year, the Arce and McKinley families deck the halls for the holidays.
Russell McKinley: "You just got to keep things going with the holidays, try to make it a happy time."
But the Christmas ornaments and lights aren't put up just around their homes, they decorate a memorial marker on Pines Boulevard, near University Drive in Pembroke Pines.
It's the place where 15-year-old Dawn Arce and 16-year-old Wildy McKinley died seven years ago.
Russell McKinley: "I got home and there was a police officer at the door."
In September 1997, the Miramar High School sweethearts were driving home from dinner, when a car jumped the median and crashed into Wildy's pickup truck head on.
Alex Arce: "I just thought they were going to be okay, nothing was bad, that they would be banged up a little bit but didn't turn out to be that way."
A year later, the families asked for this single memorial -- to mark the spot of the fatal crash.
It's been a place of comfort and solace every since, so around the holidays the families dress it up.
Alex Arce: "It gives us something to do to remember them by. We'll drive by and we'll see the sign and it makes us feel better.
Charles McKinley: "It makes us feel a little bit better that they're still with us, in our hearts."
But the families say over the last couple of months they've been heartbroken because someone's been stealing the mementos they leave behind.
Rusell McKinley: "What we do is we put a his and her bear out, and someone keeps taking the bears. It's probably happened a good six or seven times now and it's just, it's wrong."
Not only is it wrong, it's painful.
Charles McKinley: "It feels like someone kicked you. Honestly it feels like you know, you look at it, you turn around and look at it and say how can someone do that to a memorial?"
The families refuse to involve the police and they refuse to watch the memorial 24 hours, seven days a week.
Russell McKinley: "If you need a teddy bear that bad, let me know, I'll go to the store and buy you one, leave the ones there."
They say despite the thefts, they'll continue this holiday tradition.
Alex Arce: "We'll keep on decorating, we just put two new bears out there. They keep taking it, we'll keep putting them out there."
FOR MORE INFORMATION:
Pembroke Pines Police
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