Local News

Thieves' Plundering of Cemetery Monuments Hurts Survivors

Posted May 14, 2007 11:09 p.m. EDT

— 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.