Local News

Thieves' Plundering of Cemetery Monuments Hurts Survivors

Posted May 14, 2007

— A cemetery should be a sacred place, somewhere people go to remember and to grieve. It is not a place you expect to discover larceny.

Thieves did steal 10 metal headstones and 100 metal vases from a North Raleigh cemetery, however, and police are urging cemeteries to be on the lookout for thieves.

Connie Warren visits her parents' Raleigh grave site as often as she can, changing the flower arrangement to match the season.

“It's my parents' memorial. Its all I have left of them,” Warren said Monday.

Thieves have stolen Warren's artificial flowers twice, but it seems like now they have their eyes on bigger targets.

Ten metal headstones and 100 vases were taken from a North Raleigh cemetery in the past week. Those have a retail value of $15,000.

“The motive is the value of the metal itself,” said Raleigh police spokesman Jim Sughrue.

Most of the stolen items are bronze, and police suspect the thieves will try to sell them to metal recyclers.

“We're doing everything we can to get the word out so that if any of this material turns up, we might get a suspect lead,” Sughrue said.

The real loss for families is not the value of the item, however. It’s the desecration of a very sacred place.

“This means a lot to me. I would be bereft, I would just sit down and cry if somebody stole it. It's bad enough when they steal your flowers,” Warren said.


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  • Sick of Thugs May 15, 2007

    Gatsby. We are already patrolling graveyards. You would be surprised at the criminal activity that goes on in a graveyard during the late hours. It is pathetic that people don't have standards anymore.

  • Arbi May 15, 2007

    I think a few good men ought to watch for these crooks and beat the &^%$ out of them,

  • Politically Honest NOT PC May 15, 2007

    Those that do these despicable acts may not ever have to answer to us here, but they WILL have to answer to a Higher Power when the time comes and will be punished accordingly. I was taught as a child to do nothing that you would not be proud of or willing to accept the consequences of (sometimes good consequences, sometimes bad).

  • I hear voices May 15, 2007

    I find this appauling. We lay our loved ones down to rest and then some sick individual disturbs that. I hope they are cought and brought to a swift justice.

  • IHave1-2 May 15, 2007

    Unfortunately this is not an isolated situation. My dad's body is in a mausoleum in a coastal town of NC. From 1999-2001, I can't recall how many times flowers and ornaments were removed from his crypt door. Even with name tags on the arrangements, they would end up on graves several hundred yards away... different graves each time. After I moved, I decided to just pay for memorial lights on special occasions throughout the year. It breaks my heart to know I can not trust floral arrangements will stay where they belong. As the caretaker reminded me, there is a special place in the afterlife for the low-lives who do this type of action.

  • skinnycow May 15, 2007

    Desecrating graves and vandalizing cemetaries are two of the most cupable crimes that any person can commit. I hope whomever is responsible is found and brought to justice.

  • Gatsby May 15, 2007

    I mean really folks...does it get any lower than this? Will we have to start patrolling graveyards? What a world we live in ...People are getting more evil every day

  • mvnull May 15, 2007

    hondaman, I read it to mean they are getting the word out to people who will buy the metal ("We're doing everything we can to get the word out so that if any of this material turns up, we might get a suspect lead....”)

  • superman May 15, 2007

    Instead of the police telling people to watch out for the thieves in the cemetary-- it be more appropriate if they tell the people who buy scrap metal to be on the lookout. Anyone bringing in metal that comes from a cemetary would certainly be easy to spot. That is unless they have their own metal crusher.

  • colliefan May 14, 2007

    probably done by crack or meth heads