TIPPECANOE COUNTY, Ind. (WLFI) - More than 50 bronze vases were stolen from an area cemetery. As shocking as the crimes may seem, investigators said it's more common than you might think.
On July 4, a night where most people are watching fireworks, authorities believe a single thief or a group of thieves was at the Tippecanoe Memory Gardens in West Lafayette, stealing several bronze vases.
"58 bronze vases were stolen. These could be totaling the value of about $17,400," said Lt. Dan McGrew with the Tippecanoe County Sheriff's Office.
McGrew suspects the thieves stole the vases to sell to a scrap metal company. He said that's where the detectives focus their efforts.
"Notify local recycling facilities, to send them pictures or send them some kind of information about the stolen products," said McGrew.
But what about the loved ones and lot owners who are victims of the theft? Cemetery officials are taking action to try and ease the pain.
"We will provide a new bronze vase at our cost or we have a substitute product that is actually made out of a high-density plastic but looks like bronze and we can provide that at our cost," said President David Shipper.
McGrew said while cemetery thefts are rare, scrap material thefts are not. He said from the copper in cell phone towers to air conditioning coils, valuable metals go missing on a regular basis.
"It affects a lot of businesses, a lot of personals, abandoned houses, houses for sale. it can be scrapped out. They'll go in and steal the brass fixtures, the copper wire," said McGrew.
McGrew said if you notice any suspicious activity, report it. He said there's a website you can go to see if scrap metal thefts are happening around you. To visit that site, click here.
McGrew said day or night, scrap metal thefts happen all the time, even on the 4th of July.
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