Beware of the Bronze Thieves

Bronze Vase - Photo Credit: cemeterybroker.com

You’ve probably heard of thieves stealing copper wire and selling it to the local scrap yard. But copper is old news – the new king of scrap is bronze. And enterprising thieves (with no morals) get their supply of bronze from the cemetery. Yes, the cemetery.

Does your loved one have a bronze plaque or flower vase on their grave? As evidenced by the following news reports, you might want to check and make sure it’s still there…

In January, 2011 a thief left 120 vases behind when he was spotted at Gracelawn Memorial Park in New Castle
County, Delaware.

In April, 2011 two Pottstown, PA men were charged with felony counts of theft, receiving stolen property and institutional vandalism for allegedly stealing more than 200 bronze vases from Highland Memorial Cemetery.

Thieves stole dozens of bronze vases from a cemetery in repeated thefts over the past month, causing tens of thousands of dollars in damage, authorities said. The Yuba County Sheriff’s Department said at least 60 of the heavy metal ornaments were ripped out of graves at the Sierra View Memorial Park by suspects who apparently posed as mourners.

That last report really gets me…these thieves decided stealing in the dark of night wasn’t good enough, they would just go in the daytime and pretend to be mourners! But this lowlife gets the prize:

Police are looking for a thief who stole nearly four dozen bronze flower vases from plots at a Rio Rancho, NM cemetery. Most of them were taken from the veterans section of the cemetery. Authorities say a thief stole eight bronze plaques – totaling $65,000 – from a foreign war memorial, making off with the only official list of all the deceased veterans who belonged to the Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 6919 in Morningside, Md. The list reportedly dated back to World War I.

Stealing from veterans? Really?? Have you no heart?

A bronze vase can cost upwards of $300 while top-of-the-line bronze markers go for about $4,000, but scrap yards typically pay $1 – $1.50 a pound for bronze so it’s not as if the thieves are making millions off their ill-gotten gains. However, it’s still worth the risk especially since it’s unlikely that they will be caught. Most cemeteries are unable to patrol each and every acre they own, let alone install video cameras to catch thieves and vandals. So when nobody’s looking, off goes the bronze.

How sad and frustrating for the families that are victims of this petty crime. It truly is shameful that this kind of robbery even exists. So next time you visit the cemetery, look out for any suspicious ‘mourners’ and always alert cemetery management if something looks off.

Have you checked on your loved ones grave lately?

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2 comments on “Beware of the Bronze Thieves

  1. […] Beware of the Bronze Thieves (gravewords.wordpress.com) […]

  2. […] surprise me because it seems cemeteries get vandalized almost every day. Cemetery thieves steal bronze memorial plaques, flowers, grave decorations and anything else they can get their grubby little hands on. And unless […]

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