400 feet of fencing stolen from historically Black cemetery in Tomball: 'Who would stoop so low?'

Alex Bozarjian Image
Friday, March 15, 2024
400 feet of fencing stolen from historically Black cemetery in Tomball
Bogs-Hufsmith Cemetery in Tomball, Texas, suffered the theft of 400 feet of fencing around the historically Black grounds.

TOMBALL, Texas (KTRK) -- The Harris County Sheriff's Office is investigating after thieves targeted a historically Black cemetery.

An all-volunteer association raises every dime that goes into the care of Bogs-Hufsmith Cemetery in Tomball, established in 1911.

On Wednesday, someone stole 400 feet of fencing, which members of the association said was erected from a project that started two years ago. They were almost done, but the crime set them back.

The thieves left behind just tension bars. Unfortunately, the cemetery had no working cameras or witnesses at the time.

Bogs-Hufsmith association members will tell you the cemetery is not a money maker.

"We pay with our sweat and blood. There is no salary we get," Donald Preston, assistant caretaker for the cemetery, said.

A stretch of fencing alone costs about $9,000.

Investigators are now figuring out who stole 400 feet of the chain-linked steel overnight.

"It is the morals behind this. Who would stoop so low to do something like this, to steal from the dead? These people cannot defend themselves," Latrell Shannon, the cemetery historian, said.

The fencing helps preserve the integrity of the cemetery. It also helps keep wildlife and people from dumping trash on the property.

Members told ABC13 that the theft feels personal.

"Everybody you see standing here today, we have family members here," Preston said.

Caring for these grounds is essential work, but even more so when they hold people from your own bloodline.

"This means the world to us. My grandmother started teaching us about the cemetery when we were young," Mary Scott, an association member, said.

In a time of segregation, Bogs-Hufsmith was somewhere Black families could safely bury their loved ones.

The four acres of land gained historic status in 2022 thanks to Shannon's hard work. She said her application was 32 pages long.

"Everybody doesn't make this (historic designation), and for apparently some reason, I guess, I had all my ducks in a row that time, so here we are," Shannon said.

The cemetery has been standing for more than a century. Preston said the stolen property feels like a gut punch. But he said it won't stop them from coming back to rebuild.

If you want to donate to help the association maintain the cemetery, you can visit the Bogs-Huffsmith website.

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