Rage over grave thefts

BRONZE VASES STOLEN, LEAV­ING MOURN­ING FAM­I­LIES GUT­TED

Mt Druitt - St Mary's Standard (East) - - NEWS - Alison Bald­ing

CAL­LOUS thieves are steal­ing from the dead, tak­ing hun­dreds of bronze vases – with a com­bined re­tail price of around $330,000 – from graves at Pine­grove Me­mo­rial Park.

The rob­bers have stolen around 600 of the vases from graves and memo­ri­als at the Minchinbury ceme­tery since the Fa­ther’s Day week­end.

Fam­i­lies pay $550 per vase to at­tach them to their loved ones’ rest­ing places to keep flow­ers.

Pine­grove fam­ily ser­vices man­ager Michael Bridges said his staff were work­ing with po­lice and scrap metal busi­nesses as the hunt for the thieves con­tin­ues. Pine­grove is also offering

a $5000 re­ward for in­for­ma­tion which leads to po­lice catching those re­spon­si­ble.

“Lo­cal po­lice are well aware of the thefts and are in­ves­ti­gat­ing this mat­ter,” Mr Bridges said.

“The gates of Pine­grove are locked ev­ery night, yet we have a large bound­ary area, and so we are ask­ing for the com­mu­nity’s as­sist- ance in de­tect­ing any breaches to the park border, and also to keep an eye out for sus­pi­cious ac­tiv­i­ties.

“If you do see any­thing sus­pi­cious, we urge you to con­tact po­lice.”

Mr Bridges said the on­go­ing thefts were dis­tress­ing to fam­i­lies, es­pe­cially this close to Christ­mas.

Mr Bridges said the vases would be re­placed but for some, the in­tru­sion was dif­fi­cult and dis­ap­point­ing.

“Fam­i­lies will have their vases re­placed in the new year, how­ever to re­duce fur­ther thefts, we won’t be re­plac­ing them with items made from bronze or other metal,” he said.

A spokesman for Pine­grove said, while the vases re­tail for $550 each in their or­na­men­tal form, when melted down for the bronze they would be worth con­sid­er­ably less.

Mt Druitt crime preven­tion of­fi­cer Se­nior Con­sta­ble Paul Bates said po­lice were in­ves­ti­gat­ing the thefts, and work­ing with Pine­grove man­age­ment to try and find those re­spon­si­ble.

Any­one with in­for­ma­tion is urged to call Crime Stop­pers 1300 333 000.

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