Thieves target New Jersey cemetery

April 8, 2010 2:55:33 PM PDT
Police are investigating a heartless crime in New Jersey. Vases were stolen off graves at a cemetery in East Hanover. Each is worth more than $300. A mother, father, brother and aunt are all buried at the Gates of Heaven Cemetery in East Hanover. It's where Karen Dobbins has visited every holiday for the last 43 years.

"I mean that's where I go," she said. "My family's, that's where I go. To see something taken after going since I was 12, it's just kinda painful."

But when she went back last Christmas, she discovered the bronze vase on her mother's grave had been stolen. And just this past Easter weekend, she saw that her aunt's vase is missing too.

"It's stealing from the dead," she said.

Police say vases have been stolen from Restland Cemetery, too, about a quarter mile away.

Several dozen thefts have been reported from both cemeteries, but police believe thieves have been targeting vases to sell them for scrap metal.

"They can't replace it," Karen said. "I've already contacted the company. They don't make that vase anymore. There's nothing there, just a hole in the ground."