Florida Woman Arrested For Allegedly Stealing Flowers and Items From Graves

22211636_BG2Debra A. Farinella, 57, may have the ultimate example of a case demanding a bench rather than a jury trial. It would be hard to find a jury not repulsed by the allegation that Farinella routinely stole flowers, statues, and other personal items from the graves of Mount Peace Cemetery, including graves of deceased children. This is assuming the case ever goes to trial since police say that they found Farinella’s home stuffed with the cemetary items in St. Cloud, Florida.

Grieving family members had complained that lights, candles, and other objects were routinely taken from the graves of their loved ones.

Photo: Debra Farinella in 2011This is a mugshot of Farinella from 2011. Debra Farinella, now 57, was released from a Florida prison in 2011 after serving time for grand and petty theft and passing bad checks.

She is now facing grand theft charges. Presumably this would be third degree grand theft, but it is hard to value such items. On the basis of market value, they would obviously be lower in cost than how these families valued them. First (Degree Grand Theft covers stolen property valued at $100,000 or more, while Second Degree Grand Theft covers stolen property valued between $20,000 and $99,999. Third Degree covers property valued between $300 and $19,999 and comes with a maximum of 5 years in jail and a $5,000 fine.

Source: Orlando

22 thoughts on “Florida Woman Arrested For Allegedly Stealing Flowers and Items From Graves

  1. When I was a teen & always broke I obtained flowers for a girlfriend from the gardens at the state capital. I suppose I could have done hard time for that.

    This, however, is a whole couple of layers beneath my petty theft.

  2. Pretty sad all the way around. I am not sure what motivated our tomb thief but I suspect some form of kleptomania or pathological collecting is at work. She needs help more than prison — and some community service time cleaning up the cemetery after she returns or replaces the items.

  3. I also think, with mespo, that there is likely to be some kind of psychological pathology involved here.

  4. As a young lawyer, I once represented a teenager accused of massive vandalism in an historic graveyard in Petersburg.


    I came to find that the young man had deeply entrenched psychological problems and needed help. The trial judge, an FFV* whose own distant family’s plots were involved, was more than compassionate ordering restitution and psychiatric help. I was quite impressed by the Judge’s approach and his understanding of what makes people lash out developed over years of work on the bench.

    *First Family of Virginia

  5. Before any trial, her attorney better get her a makeover or he’s subject to malpractice litigation.

  6. Yeah, gotta wait ’til the site matures.

    Then at some point it is called Tomb Raiding.

    Wait a bit longer and it is called Archeology.

    Timing is everything …😉

  7. nick spinelli 1, May 10, 2013 at 10:00 am

    The first step would be some new spectacles.
    Maybe here defense lawyer will say that her defective spectacles got in the way of her hobby — archeology.

  8. Take the deposition of the yard custodians at that cemetary. What do you do with flowers that are say a week old and looking wilted? I gather them up and pitch em. You mean they go in the dumpster?
    Defense of abandoned property and a charitable women who saved plants from death by dumpster. Ask the jurors on voir dire if they have been to the dumpster by this particular cemetary. None will have done so but it will start their thinking early on. Have the grade school kids show up at trial with tee shirts with Save The Plants! enscribed. Be creative. Dont waive a jury. Waive the dead flowers or better yet, dead plants in their faces. Photograph cemetary custodian picking up the potted plants still alive and throwing them in the dumpster. Along with the other items he pitches, knowing quite well that Aunt Doe Doe wont miss the toy on the grave and kiddo wont come back for another year. Bcukle up and kick ass defense lawyer, and dont be a pansy about this. No pun intended.

  9. Yeah blog readers who are lawyers, help us get creative here in the defense instead of all this roll over Beethoven apCray.

  10. HumpinDog is right. We frequent a cemetary nearby our Palm Springs marina and see the field hands throwing out perfectly good plants and flowers. Save The Pansys!

  11. Mespo,

    Sounds like a judge with practical sense…. Very good…. Some would call it judicial activism…. I call it good….

  12. What she did is wrong, and in my mind a bit depraved, yet one has to wonder at what point does an act like this go from theft to archaeology? It seems like nearly all persons who are buried are afforded with some expectation that their graves will not be robbed but as time progresses this is often ignored by those who are seeking knowledge of the past.

    Do people have a right to their bodies not ending up in museums or universities to be studied regardless of their own burial wishes?

  13. What a sweetheart of a person. This lady needs help and absent that possibility, some alone time behind bars.

  14. Here is a person trying to make ends meet and she gets a fine she more than likely can’t pay to make her more desperate to do what she did all over again when and if it is plaid to try to get something to eat and a roof over her head. The legal system has no mercy making life even harder on whoever.

  15. Here is a person trying to make ends meet and she gets a fine she more than likely can’t pay to make her more desperate to do what she did all over again when and if it is paid to try to get something to eat and a roof over her head. The legal system has no mercy making life even harder on whoever.

  16. I agree with mespo and mfitch. Items taken from a grave are certainly not merchantable, so the motives of this woman must lie elsewhere. Incarceration will benefit neither her nor society.

  17. she sounds like a character from a hiaasen novel. and like many of his characters the alone time she needs is with a psychiatrist.

  18. Oh dear, johnathan hughes! What then do you suggest be done to discourage poor people from being entitled to what is not theirs just because they can’t afford anything? If there is no consequence, then there is no hope of decency and respect for others’ possessions. She should earn her possessions like everyone else. It is not like she was starving and stole a piece of bread. In fact, more than likely we are already paying for her food. And mespo, I wouldn’t allow her near a graveyard to “clean” it. That seems to be the whole problem here. And I wish the groundskeeper would concentrate more on keeping the lawns mowed and the weeds and ants gone than on “cleaning” up our flowers. It is also interesting that for all their “cleaning” up our plants they can’t straighten them out when they do get around to mowing. One time I even found my baby’s items strewn clear across someone else’s grave after a “groundskeeper” had been through. And now I’ve found that my baby’s grave was robbed today and I feel so helpless that nothing can be done.

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