Thieves Targeting Cemeteries

Thieves are targeting cemeteries for quick cash. Newschannel 6 is looking at what could be the beginning of a trend that's happening nationwide. Just recently a few reports have came to the attention of a cemetery supervisor with the Wichita Falls Cemeteries. The supervisor says families have come to him reporting that their beloved family members gravesite was missing its bronze vase.

When Senior Maintenance Supervisor, Kevin Barton hears from people visiting a gravesite they might ask why things may be a little off.

"Headstone had been moved, you know maybe bumped with a mower or something."

But recently their questions have turned into statements-regarding theft.

"We've had several family members come to the cemetery and report that some of the bronze vases and some of the vases on the headstone have come up missing."

It's not something you hear about everyday, thieves targeting the dead, but it is happening
and they're in search for the copper.

"They're probably scraping it and scrapping it and trying to get money," said Barton.

A local scrap yard worker says they're paying $3 a pound for copper, that can add up for someone in desperate search for money. It can also create a burden on the family.

"Those vases brand new are pretty expensive, several hundred dollars to replace them. The families are pretty upset," he said.

All employees are now paying extra attention to visitors looking for anything suspicious.

"If there is any strange people here we do approach them to see why they're here and if they need any help finding anything."

It leaves Kevin wondering who would do such a thing.

"You're out checking on your families grave and things come up missing, it's tough on the family."

Barton says if families notice something is missing from the gravesite to please inform them so they can contact police and scrap yards.

A scrap yard Newschannel 6 spoke with says they are on the lookout for anything unusual coming in and recently that has included bronze cemetery vases.

Crystal Hall Newschannel 6