Families upset after thieves steal from graves

December 16, 2010 3:52:30 PM PST
A crime of disrespect to families trying to hold on to the memories of lost loved ones. Nearly 200 vases were ripped off, straight from graves at a local cemetery. And the thieves do it all just to make a quick buck from the metal. Cemetery owners say thieves were after copper mixed into the brass vases, but people we talked to today at the Rosewood Cemetery in Humble say there is simply no excuse to steal from a gravesite.

The names engraved on these headstones all mean something to someone. For the Hanagirff family, it's Peggy's mother and Bob's mother-in-law.

"The cemetery is a very sacred place," said Bob Hanagirff.

As they bring new holiday flowers to their loved one's resting place, they are also learning the Rosewood Cemetery has been a place of pilfering for thieves.

"They took the vase and they put the flowers back in and you can see throughout this whole area, they clipped the vase and then they put it back in," said Jess Fields of Rosewood Cemetery.

Fields says during November thieves came in and stole 185 bronze vases. It's something he says the family-owned cemetery has never dealt with in 83 years of business.

"This is a first for us, this is the first," said Fields.

He says the loss to families is in the thousands of dollars, but the cemetery plans to step in and replace them for families.

"Eight years of age; it was somebody's son. And they took the vase," Fields said.

For the Hanagirffs, while they acknowledge times are tough for a lot of people right now, they say there is simply no excuse for stealing from a grave.

"They are stealing from the loved ones that are left behind to look after the cemetery and just pay our respects, just come out here and pay our respects when we can," said Bob Hanagirff.

Fields says multiple suspects must have been involved as each vase weighs about six pounds. Humble police are now investigating.


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