Investigators Looking for Cemetery Thieves

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MCNAIRY COUNTY, Tenn. – Bronze vases, which are part of memorials for lost loved ones, are now missing in McNairy County. “It’s like stealing from a church,” said Vickie Rowland, owner of Lake Hill Memorial Gardens Cemetery. “There’s some things you don’t do. You don’t steal from God, and you don’t steal from cemeteries and people who can’t defend themselves.” Investigators said the five vases were stolen from Lake Hill Memorial Gardens Cemetery in Bethel Springs around the beginning of August. “We’re around the cemetery all the time,” said cemetery worker Daniel Raper. “We try to take notice of what’s missing, what’s torn up, and what not. So, I noticed several missing in one small area, which isn’t normal.” Workers said it is not just the deceased that have been disrespected by the alleged thieves, but it also hurts the family and friends that put the vases in place. “It takes a pretty sorry individual to steal from the family of a deceased person,” said Raper. “Because you’re not taking it from the dead. It’s the family that the monument’s actually for.” “They don’t take into consideration the pain and the heartache that it causes the family members when they go up there and the vases are gone,” said Rowland. Investigators are searching for clues, hoping the vases will turn up. But for now, they are left with more questions than answers. “We’re checking the scrapyards to see if any of those people might have taken the vases, but so far (we’ve had) no luck,” said Investigator Robert Hitchborn with the McNairy County Sheriff’s Department.

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