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Subject: Have nothing to do today? Steal from a cemetery.................
Date: Sun, 16 Jul 2006 13:13:32 EDT


Thefts concern cemeteries
By _Bob Withers_ (mailto:)
The Herald-Dispatch
HUNTINGTON -- Cemetery officials are starting to get worried.
Someone stole 35 bronze flower vases valued at $4,000 from Woodmere Memorial
Park on Monday. Sixty-five vases worth $26,000 were taken in the Miami area
last week. Thieves have been targeting copper, too, in metal thefts across
the country.
"We have seen this type of theft happen in various parts of the country in
recent months," said Greg Bolton, director of corporate communications for
Service Corporation International, which owns Woodmere and Ridgelawn memorial
parks.
Capt. Steve Hall, commander of the Huntington Police Department's detective
bureau, said Thursday that the incident is still under investigation and
officers anticipate warrants being signed.
"We're very much concerned," said Evan Hall, a funeral director at Hall
Funeral Home in Proctorville, Ohio. Hall's business owns Miller Memorial Gardens
in Rome Township.
"Determined people are not just picking up these vases," he said. "They are
connected to the monuments by bronze chains that have to be cut with bolt
cutters."
Bolton, whose company owns about 350 cemeteries throughout North America,
said that after the Woodmere incident, SCI hired private security companies to
patrol its grounds.
"Since this happened, we have asked them to heighten their vigilance in the
cemetery," he said.
Hall explained that the vases are solid bronze, expensive and weigh 15
pounds.
"They're worth about $45 apiece, scrap value," he said."
Hall said his company never has had a bronze vase stolen, and he's glad.
"Our cost is $130 without shipping," he said. "We might be able to replace
one, but if we had to replace 35 or 40 of them, that would be really
difficult. We would have to turn it in to insurance."
Bolton said Woodmere will replace all vases purchased from the cemetery at
no charge to families.
"For those few vases purchased from outside suppliers that were involved in
this theft, Woodmere will help direct the families to the original supplier
to seek resolution," he said.
But Hall said family monuments belong to families, and any such losses must
be covered by homeowner policies.
"It would be the family's responsibility," he said.
Hall is concerned also because the Woodmere theft took place during daylight
hours, but added that he believes Miller has adequate security.
"We have a house occupied by a renter on cemetery grounds and we also have
several neighbors," he said. "We're a more rural cemetery."
The neighborhood itself may count for something.
"Stealing from a graveyard is about as low as you can go," he said. "We live
in an nice area where people respect the dead."


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