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Posted: January 20, 2011 10:22 p.m.

Vases stolen from tombstones

By Brittany Thomas/

When Wanda Davis thinks of her deceased parents, it is with love and respect. But when she thinks of what has been stolen from them, she is seething.

That’s because bronze vases were stolen from their tombstones in the veterans section of Lawnwood Memorial Park off Access Road. About 60 vases, which are valued at $100 each, were yanked from various graves in the cemetery over the weekend. The theft was discovered Monday.

"They (the thieves) so politely took the flowers out of the vases and laid them over on the grave," she said. "And it isn’t just my mother and daddy. All over the veterans section you see that those vases are gone, all but about four or five."

Police patrols have been stepped up at local cemeteries after thieves made off with thousands of dollars worth of vases. However, Covington Police Detective Daniel Seals said this isn’t a new phenomenon.

"We’re seeing theft like this a lot more now that stolen metal is being taken out of the county to sell," said Seals. "It’s a lot easier for a thief to come up with a line if they take something to DeKalb County. Then, if the recycling center calls authorities in that county to see if the item is stolen, they have no knowledge of a theft

Davis said this is the second time vases were taken from her parents’ graves. The first instance the cemetery paid to replace them, but this time, that cost falls to the family.

"When I got the call Monday, I was so upset I could not even call the rest of my family and tell them," she said. "It was infuriating to know that we’ve got thieves that will steal from the dead. I was beyond mad."

Davis has two siblings, both of whom live out of the county. She looks at it as her responsibility to make sure their parents’ final resting place is cared for. Flowers are left on the graves regularly and family members visit often.

"They’re stealing from the dead," said Davis. "These people served their time here and those vases are paid for by families so we can go out there and celebrate who our loved ones were by putting flowers there… How would these people feel if someone had stolen from their parents who had passed on and are gone? If it’s just because they wanted a little money, then they need to get up and go work for it and leave the dead alone."

According to Seals, the price the metal from the vases would fetch would fluctuate depending on the market and the weight, but added that it would be "a whole lot cheaper than what the person paid for it."

There is no law against a recycling center purchasing vases, some of which are stamped with the name of the cemetery.

At minimum, a thief could be charged with theft by taking, but could also be charged with desecration of a grave. A theft of 60 vases with a combined value of $6,000 would be a felony.

Anyone with information on the thefts is asked to contact the Covington Police Department at (770) 786-7605 or online at www.covingtonpolice.com. Tips can be given anonymously.

because it didn’t occur in that county."

 

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