A string of vase thefts from graves at a South Surrey cemetery has the funeral centre staff and local RCMP wondering how anyone could steal from the dead.
"We're looking at this just because of the interest it's generated," said Cpl. Bert Paquet of the Surrey RCMP. "I know our district officers are aware and are looking at whether or not there are similar cemeteries in our area targeted as well."
The thefts have been taking place at South Surrey's Victory Memorial Park Funeral Centre and started a couple of weeks ago, with bronze vases being the target.
According to site manager Bob Linklater, thieves have made off with around 60 vases to date.
"We've noticed about four different instances and unfortunately the theft of bronze is really becoming an issue for cemeteries across North America," said Linklater.
While the motive behind the thefts remains unclear, one theory is that they may be related to the metal contained in the vases.
"As the commodity of bronze rises with gold and copper, unscrupulous people take it upon themselves to get it wherever they can," said Linklater.
Locally, Paquet noted police haven't come across any of the vases at any scrap metal dealers, but are monitoring the situation.
"We've done a lot of work with the city to get the metal scrap dealers on board," he said. "We have a very good partnership with them... and so far nothing."
Reaction to the thefts has been typical, said Linklater.
"Somebody's loved one has been cremated or placed in the ground and that marker with a person's name, a picture, a date born and date died - that's very representative of the person that died," he said. "It's very devastating for a family, it's like tearing a hole in them because a part of that marker is now gone. So they're frustrated, angry and upset."
It doesn't appear as if any other cemeteries have been hit, but Pacquet said the issue is now in the forefront.
"We definitely understand that there are a lot of people upset about this and that's one of our motivating factors in investigating this."
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