Just days before Memorial Day, some families in the north metro are feeling devastated by loss all over again because within the past week, someone has stolen 100 bronze vases off head stones at the Washburn-McReavy Glen Haven Memorial Garden in Crystal.
The thieves aren't just striking in Crystal either. Nearly 50 vases are missing at the Crystal Lake location in north Minneapolis as well.
"You don't expect this to happen in a cemetery -- and there is really no way to protect it, which is really sad," said Candy Link, whose brother's vase is among the missing.
Jacki Bowers discovered her husband's vase was stolen on Sunday -- along with her brother-in-laws and her parents. She says the thieves left the flowers strewn on the ground next to the grave sites.
"It's sad. What is this world coming to that you have to take from the cemetery?" she asked.
The cemeteries are offering free plastic replacements and new vases at wholesale for $200. Each vase can be worth between $200-500.
"They can take this vase and sell it somehow," said Crystal Deputy Police Chief Stephanie Fealy. "The bronze piece has copper in it ,so they can turn around and sell it for scrap at metal yards."
A $1,000 reward is being offered in the case, and anyone with information is asked to call 763-531-1020.