WINSTON-SALEM, NC -- Police are investigating reports of someone stealing flowers and vases from grave sites at Oaklawn Memorial Gardens in Winston-Salem.
Mark Norris, Sales Manager at Oaklawn Memorial Gardens says at least 150 bronze flower vases have been taken in the last three weeks!
Norris says cemetery officials are in the process of contacting the families of headstones that were robbed.
In a statement sent to WFMY News 2, a company spokesperson said:
"We take acts of vandalism or theft at our properties very seriously and have reported this matter to local police who are looking into it. Our thoughts are with any families impacted by the removal of the flower vases."
Officials at Wall Monument Company say the vases that were stolen are not cheap.
They said bronze flower vases are 87 percent copper -- which means they're worth about $400 a piece!
But families at the cemetery say their loved one's grave site is priceless!
"It's very disheartening to know that someone would stoop pretty low to steal off a grave," said Yvonne Coffey.
Coffey visits the Oaklawn Memorial Gardens almost daily -- to pay respects to her family.
"My grandparents that are buried over there, they were my heart," said Coffey. "They probably done it for money. We do it for love. We are upset about it."
Police don't know if the suspects will try to sell the vases as they are -- or melt the metal down and try to strike a deal with a scrap yard.
Bob Young, owner of 109 U-Pull-It has a lot of car parts.
But he doesn't make any deals for precious metals.
"We don't buy the bronze or the copper or aluminum unless it's hooked to a car because so much of it is stolen."
As for Coffey, she says she won't let thieves desecrate her family's final resting place.
"It's not if we replace, it's when we replace," said Coffey.
Norris says the cemetery is asking families to contact police if they notice anything missing from their loved one's grave.
Police do not have any leads on suspects at this time.
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