Reporting Bill Hudson
CRYSTAL, Minn. (WCCO) — Police in Crystal are asking for the public’s help in finding suspects after more than 100 vases were stolen from a cemetery in the city on Tuesday.
Police said the incident happened at the Glen Haven Memorial Garden on the 5100 block of West Broadway. Vases were stolen from the cemetery on three separate occasions, with the most recent incident happening Tuesday.
“The ones we noticed missing had the flowers thrown to the side and the vase was totally missing,” said Washburn-McReavy’s, Dale Carlson.
Two of Washburn-McReavy’s cemeteries, Crystal Lake and Glen Haven Memorial Garden, have been targeted by thieves looking to cash in on the bronze. At eight pounds each, the vases are disappearing at an alarming rate. More than 100 have been stolen since May 15.
“To find out that your personal property has been stolen right from the gravesite of a loved one, it’s very sad,” said Carlson.
Crystal Police believe that the bronze vases are being sold for scrap metal. Local salvage dealers have been notified to be on the watch for suspicious customers looking to unload scrap bronze.
“It’s pretty low,” said Debbie Mauch, who just learned of the thefts as she and her family came to Glen Haven to decorate the grave of her daughter. “First, I was surprised! Why would somebody do that? I would hate to come out to find out that it was gone.”
Replacement of the vases, even at wholesale, will cost each family about $200. Washburn-McReavy is offering a replacement plastic version at no cost to fill the need created by the upcoming Memorial Day weekend.
Still, it’s the loss of respect for this very sacred and solemn place that carries no price tag.
“It’s tragic, it’s tragic when they come out at a time like this to have that happen,” Dale Carlson added.
To help solve the thefts, Washburn-McReavy is offering a $1,000 reward for information that leads to the arrests of those responsible.
“They’re worth a lot of money,” said Deputy Chief Stephanie Fealy of the Crystal Police Department. “So we are really looking for the help of the public.”
NewsRadio 830 WCCO’s Steve Murphy Reports
Anyone with information is asked to contact the Crystal Police tip line at 763-531-1020.