Cemetery tightens security after brass vases stolen from Norfolk gravesites

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by Jonathan Costen, 13News Now

WVEC.com

Posted on March 18, 2014 at 5:45 AM

Updated Tuesday, Mar 18 at 9:49 PM

Woodlawn Cemetery Norfolk

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NORFOLK -- Bill Barnette is both angry and sad. He went to visit his father’s gravesite at Woodlawn Cemetery in Norfolk and noticed the vase was missing.

"I looked around and you look here usually this (cemetery plot) is filled with flowers and balloons. Look out here, hardly nothing!" Barnette said.

Barnette had flowers and a balloon he'd planned to put at his father's grave.

He said his father's vase wasn't the only one missing - dozens had disappeared from the cemetery. Barnette believes the vases were taken by people who are selling them for scrap to get some quick cash.

"This is low life to do that and sell it. No respect for the dead. It's not right," he added.

Barnette says he has filed a police report, hoping that the thief or thieves will be caught.

"They ought to be punished out here, 12 hours a day cleaning these with a toothbrush seven days a week or hand-digging graves," he says.

Woodlawn spokesperson Pamela Bowles said the thefts were isolated to one area of the cemetery.

She says cemetery officials have taken pictures of each memorial and says family members of those affected will be contacted.

Bowles said because the vases are private property, Woodlawn will not foot the bill for the stolen items. She said the cemetary will, however, work with vendors to get vases at low-cost for families who'd like to replace them.

She added the Newtown Road gate will be closed so thieves won’t have easy access. Woodlawn has also contacted other cemeteries so they will have a heightened alert for possible thieves.

Anyone with information about this case is asked to call the Norfolk Police Department.

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