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Home  |  News  |  Scrap grave vases may be stolen, police say

Scrap grave vases may be stolen, police say
Thursday, July 7, 2011

ORANGEBURG, SC - Some of the nearly 70 flower vases stolen from a Batesburg-Leesville cemetery may have wound up in Orangeburg this week.

Officials suspect the pieces taken to a local recycler came from last week's theft.
"A crime is a crime. But when you go into a cemetery, that goes a little beyond the norm," Orangeburg County Sheriff Leroy Ravenell said. "I do not take this lightly."
On Tuesday morning, Sunshine Recycling employees called authorities to report a man trying to sell what looked like the remains of more than a dozen broken cemetery vases.

Authorities had no reports of stolen vases in the Orangeburg area. They were aware, however, of the theft from the Ridge Crest Memorial Park in Batesburg-Leesville.
The owner of the cemetery reported the theft to the Batesburg-Leesville Police Department on June 27 and later offered a reward.

"A gentleman who visits his wife's grave every day said several vases were missing," said Lan Price of Ridge Crest Memorial Park. "We went out there and checked and they were gone."

Price said the thefts were done in a way that made it hard to notice something was wrong.

"These folks were pretty deceptive," Price said. "They would leave the flowers standing up and had stolen the vases."

Investigators from Batesburg-Leesville drove to Orangeburg Monday to interview a Gilbert man who brought the broken pieces in.

The Gilbert man said he got the vases from his grandmother in Mississippi, according to a Sheriff's Office incident report. When authorities tried to call the grandmother, they got no answer.

The pieces have been determined to be cemetery vases but investigators say they are still working to determine if they are tied to Batesburg-Leesville.

Price said no other vases or even pieces have been recovered at any other recycling business around the state.

"It's just a crying shame someone would do something like this," Price said.
Bronze is an alloy made of copper and tin. Each vase cost a bereaved family member between $135 and $300, Price said.

"When a person has a loved one, and this is their final resting place, that is just what it should be -- their resting place," Ravenell said. "People going into the night and taking these things, that's ridiculous."

The sheriff said the investigation goes on. No charges have been filed yet.
"I have to give thanks to Sunshine for pointing out these things, working with law enforcement," he said. "Even in this, taking the time to see what the items were, instead of just melting them down."

Source: http://www.thetandd.com/news/article_b4dce262-a853-11e0-b0af-001cc4c03286.html

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