Man accused of stealing vases from grave sites

CONROE, TX The vases that were stolen were along a back row of the Conroe Memorial Park Cemetery, out of view from FM 1314. Authorities say about 20 bronze vases, sold for about $350 each, were stolen.

The cemetery owner says he noticed the missing vases yesterday morning and it's believed they were stolen Saturday night or Sunday. Cemetery officials say it took just a few minutes to unscrew the vases, cut a security chain and throw them in the back of a truck; a crime that victimized families that were already grieving.

"They have gone through losing a family member and then they are going to have to, well luckily in this case, that they found them," said Tom McNutt with the Conroe Memorial Park Cemetery. "We'll replace them and put them back, but I don't understand why people would do that."

Paul McKinnon, 52, was arrested yesterday by Montgomery County precinct 4 constables. When police searched his truck, they found 20 vases commonly placed on grave sites at cemeteries.

He was charged with theft of precious metals, which is a state jail felony. Those vases are made of bronze and police believe he planned to sell them at a scrap metal yard.

Family members are being contacted by authorities. The vases recovered will be returned to the grave sites. The broken ones will be replaced by the cemetery.

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