7 On Your Side

Broken promises to turn funeral flowers into keepsakes

Monday, April 30, 2012

Two years ago we heard a chorus of frustrated and grieving customers. All sent their loved ones' precious funeral petals and hundreds of dollars to a Rockland County woman who promised to turn it into keepsake jewelry, but months and, in some cases, years later, nothing. Now, another Hail Mary's gone out for more help from 7 On Your Side.

"I feel abandoned. I feel like I've been baited. I feel like I've been lied to," Patricia McShane said.

McShane's talking about Keepsake Rosaries, a Rockland company that advertises on line promising to turn your funeral flowers into rosaries or jewelry.

After Patricia's mom passed last May she framed flowers from the funeral and sent the rest off to Keepsake Rosaries with a check for more than four hundred dollars, ordering 18 chaplets - a keepsake for each family member.

Patricia has heard nothing since then, and even called the number on the website. Disconnected. Emails went unanswered. She even sent 2 registered letters - received and signed for. A year's passed with nothing in return.

Nearly 2 years ago we first investigated Keepsake Rosaries when funeral flowers from a 7 month old SIDS victim and a prized grandmom - went AWOL. We spoke to Keepsake's owner at her home.

"I understand I need to be a bit better with my communication obviously," Michelle Hintzsche said then.

After our visit both got their jewelry and their petals back. But now, Haverstraw police say more victims have come forward since 2010. After receiving 20 complaints, police arrested Hintzsche, charging her with scheme to defraud.

Police officers searched her Rockland home, confiscating a computer, bags of unlabeled dried flowers, and even a stack of unopened orders sent up to a year ago.

Ultimately, police want to get the flowers back to their proper owner.

"We understand there is alot of sentimental value here to people and we'll be as cautious as possible," Lt. Martin Lind said.

We appealed to the district attorney who allowed police to release the McShane's flowers in time for their Mother's one year memorial. The police are attempting to locate the order.

Hinztsche pleaded not guilty to the charges against her. We asked if she'll be able to pay customers back. An email response said she's looking forward to telling her side of the story in court.

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