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Bronze vases stolen from graves

Posted: March 5, 2012 1:55 a.m.
Updated: March 5, 2012 1:55 a.m.
 


On Valentine’s Day, John Rice visited the graves of his fiancee and his parents buried at Eternal Valley Memorial Park & Mortuary, only to discover thieves had stolen bronze vases from the graves.

He said he was angry but not surprised.

Last month, bronze vases were noticed missing from more than 15 graves, Rice said.

In August, at least 300 of the same solid-bronze 8-inch vases — valued at about $150 each — were stolen from more than 100 graves in Eternal Valley’s Rose Garden area.

One of the vases stolen that summer was from the grave of a local boy who died of leukemia five years ago, prompting the boy’s frustrated father to complain to cemetery owners.

Since 2006, Chan Reader has worked diligently to preserve the memory of his son Sean, who was 12 years old when he died of leukemia that year.

But three times in one month, thieves stole the bronze vase from Sean’s headstone at Eternal Valley, Reader said.

 “The theft of bronze is an issue across the country,” said Jessica McDunn, spokeswoman for Eternal Valley owners Dignity Memorial based in Houston, Texas.

“It’s not just an Eternal Valley problem.

“Right now, we’re replacing the bronze vases with something made of less desirable a material for thieves,” she said.

The replacement vases will be tasteful, she said.

In blaming the thefts on a nationwide trend of people stealing and selling valuable metals, McDunn pointed to an example near Eternal Valley’s head office in Houston where thieves keep stealing copper from a nearby sports complex under construction.

“This is something happening everywhere,” she said, “so, it’s not something that someone is doing or not doing at the cemetery that’s causing this.”

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