Chesterfield County police report that 187 bronze vases were recently stolen at Sunset Memorial Park cemetery. According to Lieutenant T.O McCullough of the police department, the headstone vases are worth over $40,000.
“The value reported is the replacement value not what they would be worth melted down,” Lt. McCullough said. He believes the thieves are stealing the vases and selling them as scrap due to the tough economic times. “I would think the underlying cause is the economy,” he said.
Since 2008, there have been four similar cases in Chesterfield, according to McCullough. Sunset Memorial Park was hit for 37 of the containers about two years ago and Dale Memorial Park had 194 vases stolen as recently as November of 2010.
Precious metal thefts have been on the rise recently as HVAC units are also being reported stolen. Thieves either take parts from the condensing units that sit outside of homes or businesses or steal the entire unit as has been the case at a number of businesses in the Chester area over the last few months.
According to McCullough, thefts of the HVAC units have taken place all over the county, but recently a rash of incidents involving the units have been concentrated around Chester, including a number of condensing units stolen from businesses on Osborne and Chester roads.
Police reported that six HVAC units were stolen on Chester Road from the Whistle Stop Shopping Center on March 21. No suspects have been identified.
Police continue to investigate the thefts, and anyone who may have information about the crimes is encouraged to contact Crimesolvers at 748-0660, or online at crimesolvers.net