Tip Line: 414-777-5808 | newsdesk@cbs58.com

"It's senseless:" 75-year-old man speaks out after suspects steal car at Milwaukee cemetery

MILWAUKEE (CBS 58) -- Cemeteries are a place to remember loved ones but for Dale Laabs, a recent visit to his wife's grave was a moment he'll never forget. 

Dale Laabs comes to Valhalla Memorial Park almost every afternoon to visit his wife Linda's grave. It's been part of the 75-year-old's routine since she died from brain cancer nearly four years ago. 

"198 days straight, then one day I was just too tired, I couldn't make it."

Rain, sleet, snow, or shine, Laabs is at her grave, with her picture, a lawn chair, and a blanket with something to read.

"It's hard and I just like to be with her."

On January 11, while paying respects things turned scary. Two young men walked up to him and started a conversation. 

"It didn't really make sense what they were talking about. 'My dad died yesterday' and I knew that wasn't true upon reflection," Laabs recalled. 

As Laabs was packing up to leave, he says the suspects threatened him with a gun and stole his car. 

"He was able to yank me out of the car, threw me to the ground, tried to stomp on me. I was slow getting up and they just took off," says Laabs. 

Police found the car the next day but Laabs says not before it was trashed and reeked of marijuana. 

"It makes no sense. You have people come here that they want to visit. People that they love. To do something like that, it violates the sanctity of death of a cemetery. It's senseless."
He has a few sprains and scratches from the ordeal, but Laabs says his daily visits will continue. 

"There's nothing short of death that will ever deter me from coming here," Laabs says. 

Laabs says he plans on getting a new car in a few days. A 21-year-old man and a 17-year-old have been arrested. The DA's office is now investigating.

Share this article: