LOWELL, Mass. (CBS/AP) — Three members of a Dracut family are facing charges for allegedly stealing flowers and potted plants from graves at a Lowell cemetery.

A woman visiting St. Patrick Cemetery called police at about 10 a.m. Sunday to report three people picking through flowers left at gravestones and loading some into a van.

Police responded to the scene and found the van full of flowers.

One suspect told police she thought it was OK to remove plants after seven days.

According to the cemetery, flowers must be removed from headstones within 7 days of Memorial Day.

But even so, visitors can only take flowers after workers collect the flowers from the graves and bring them to the rear-entrance of the cemetery.

Only family members of the deceased can remove the flowers from the headstones themselves.

Police arrested a 52-year-old woman, her adult son, and her daughter-in-law and charged them with larceny over $250. Police did not say why they were taking the flowers.

Neighbors told WBZ-TV the suspects made no secret of where they got their flowers.

A lawyer for the suspects says it is simply a misunderstanding of cemetery rules.

They are scheduled to be arraigned Tuesday.

(TM and © Copyright 2013 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2013 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)



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